WILDLIFE

Hogle Zoo announces upcoming baby gorilla

Apr 12, 2024, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:37 pm

Pele, a gorilla and expectant mother at Hogle Zoo...

Pele, a western lowland gorilla at Hogle Zoo and mother-to-be. (Utah's Hogle Zoo)

(Utah's Hogle Zoo)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Hogle Zoo announced Friday that one of their western lowland gorillas is expecting a baby this summer. The mother-to-be, Pele, came to Hogle Zoo from Florida in 2022 and is now six months into her pregnancy.

According to a press release from the zoo, “Both mom and baby are doing well.”

Pele and her upcoming child are both western lowland gorillas, whose natural habitat stretches across the Congo Basin of Africa.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, western lowland gorillas have the largest population among all gorilla subspecies.

Despite this, the western lowland gorilla is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Both the WWF and Hogle Zoo cite poaching and disease as the largest threats to western lowland gorillas, whose population has declined dramatically in the past 25 years. 

Related: African lion at Hogle Zoo makes Super Bowl prediction

To prepare for Pele’s baby, Hogle Zoo’s staff are monitoring her health and training her for medical checkups.

“These training opportunities strengthen Pele’s maternal behaviors and build trust with the animal care team,” said Clair Hallyburton, the associate director of animal care in the press release, “helping us prepare for all outcomes.”

The team is also using ultrasound to view the progress of the baby’s development. 

Husani, a male western lowland gorilla and the father of Pele's baby

Meet Husani, Hogle Zoo’s resident male western lowland gorilla and the father of Pele’s upcoming baby. (Utah’s Hogle Zoo)

The baby’s father, Husani, is a longtime resident of the Hogle Zoo. He and his first child, Georgia, often enjoy playing together in their enclosure.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommended pairing Pele and Husani as part of their Gorilla Species Survival Plan.

Hogle Zoo expects Pele’s baby to arrive in June or July.

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Hogle Zoo announces upcoming baby gorilla