Good news – guests visiting the Zoo's newest female gorilla baby can now greet her by her name – Angela! Born Jan. 18, 2020, this new Angeleno has not only won over the hearts of her troop, but she also has the community coming in droves to visit her at Campo Gorilla Reserve just to sneak a peek of her bonding with her mother, N'djia (en-JEE-uh).
"The L.A. Zoo is very fortunate to have had a long-time donor name the gorilla baby after his daughter, Angela," said Beth Schaefer, director of animal programs at the L.A. Zoo. "We think the name is perfect considering this girl was born here in Los Angeles, which naturally makes her a proud Angeleno. We can already see how the community is connecting with this baby, which is shining a light on this critically endangered species and what we can do to save them from extinction."
The arrival of this baby girl inspired a long-time supporter of the Zoo to reach out and aid the Zoo's efforts in western lowland gorilla conservation. "We have long hoped for the birth of a female gorilla so that we could name her in honor of our daughter, Angela Collier, who spent her short life believing that the most important contribution she could make to the world was for the welfare of animals," said Basil Collier, director of the Angela Collier Foundation. "Naming the baby after Angela is a confirmation of the fine work of the L.A. Zoo in saving animals from extinction."
Western lowland gorillas are currently considered critically endangered in the wild due to illegal hunting, susceptibility to diseases such as the Ebola virus, and habitat degradation and destruction. Despite the fact that all killing, capture, and consumption of great apes is illegal, hunting for bushmeat is the primary reason for the western lowland gorilla's decline. This species of gorilla is native to the lowlands and swamp forests of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Angola. These peaceful animals are social and live in stable, cohesive groups composed of one silverback adult male, several adult females, and their offspring.
Guests can visit the Campo Gorilla Reserve exhibit daily to observe N'djia, Kelly, and their baby, Angela, along with their companions Rapunzel, and Evelyn, weather permitting. For the latest updates on baby Angela's story, follow along at @lazoo or #lazoo on social media.