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Published on August 11th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Riverbanks’ New Gorilla Family Now on Exhibit

Pictured, Kazi, Cenzoo and Macy

[Columbia, SC] – Guests visiting Riverbanks Zoo and Garden can now see the Zoo’s new family group of western lowland gorillas on exhibit daily at Gorilla Base Camp.

The troop is led by Cenzoo, a 19-year-old silverback from Birmingham Zoo. Family members also include 20-year-old Acacia from North Carolina Zoo and 9-year-olds Kazi and Macy from Zoo Atlanta. The much-anticipated public debut comes after a nearly four-month introduction process.

“All four gorillas are adjusting well to their new environment and each other,” said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “They are great animals to work with, extremely interactive and playful, and all have very distinct personalities.”

Western lowland gorillas are found in the tropical rainforests of West Africa where the climate is similar to a South Carolina summer. In the wild, gorillas live in groups of up to 30 members. Groups are led by a single adult male known as a silverback and typically also include several adult females and their offspring.

Riverbanks welcomed Cenzoo, Acacia, Kazi and Macy as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). For nearly 35 years, SSP programs have helped ensure the continued existence of endangered animals through breeding and transfer plans among AZA-accredited institutions.

Davis adds that housing a family group of gorillas for breeding has long been a desire of Riverbanks. “Now that this is finally a reality, we are excited about the possibility of having baby gorillas at the Zoo in the near future.”

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