Infant gorilla at Bristol Zoo is named

19th November 2020

Categories: Latest News

An infant western lowland gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens has been named Hasani following a public vote.

Infant gorilla at Bristol Zoo is named. Credit Jordan JonesCredit Jordan Jones

The name, which means ‘handsome’ in Swahili, was one of four choices put to a public poll on the Zoo’s Facebook page, which reached almost 100,000 people and attracted more than 2,000 votes.

The youngster is being hand-reared by keepers after he failed to feed well from his mother, Kala, who had been finding looking after him challenging. 

Now three months old and weighing 4.48kg (9.9lbs), Hasani has started teething and his first four teeth have emerged in the last couple of weeks. His development is progressing well and this week he rolled over for the first time.

He is receiving round-the-clock care from a small team of experienced gorilla keepers, who give him formula milk every three hours and are teaching him how to be a young gorilla.

This will continue for the next few months after which it is hoped he will be ready to return to the rest of the group.

Lynsey Bugg, Mammals Curator at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “Hasani continues to do very well, we are really pleased with his progress. His coordination is improving and he is getting stronger. He is very playful and is already proving to have a lovely temperament.”

During the day, Hasani is cared for in the Gorilla House to allow plenty of opportunities for his mother, Kala, and the other gorillas to see him, smell him and be near him, and ensure that he continues to be accepted as a familiar member of the gorilla family. 

At night the infant is being cared for by keepers in Zoo-owned accommodation.

Lynsey added: “He wakes for milk feeds during the night and tends to cluster feed in the evening. During the day he still sleeps a lot, but is getting very active between naps. 

“We are doing lots of work to encourage development of his mobility and strength, such as helping him to scoot, roll over and pull himself up. We encourage a lot of learning through play  ̶  it’s immensely rewarding to see him developing in the way an infant gorilla should.

Lynsey said keepers are treating Hasani like a gorilla mum would, expecting him to hold on tight and making gorilla vocalisations to make reintroduction into the group as easy for him as possible.

She added: “It’s really important for him that he remains a familiar member of the group, as well as being used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the gorillas.”

The rest of the gorilla troop are doing well and Kala continues to show a good level of interest in the youngster. 

Bristol Zoological Society has been caring for gorillas since 1930 and plays a significant role in the conservation breeding programme for western lowland gorillas as well as running a conservation programme in Equatorial Guinea in Africa.

It also raises significant funds for gorilla conservation in the wild, supports a gorilla orphanage in Cameroon and has pioneered veterinary treatment for gorillas.

The Society, which operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning four continents.

In March 2020 Bristol Zoological Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’.

The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. To find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation, visit bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.

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