New arrival wins the hearts of half term visitors and keepers
Keepers at Port Lympne Reserve, Kent’s award winning wild animal park, have welcomed a very appealing addition to the western lowland gorilla family group, housed at the Palace of the Apes.
The little ‘prince’ or ‘princess’ was born two weeks ago today, to first time mother Oundi and silverback father Kouillou and is already winning the hearts of visitors.
Phil Ridges, Head of Gorilla Section said: ‘We’re really pleased with this little one’s progress. Oundi is proving to be an excellent mother and her baby is suckling well. The youngster will be dependent on Oundi for a few years to come but will soon be hitching a lift on mum’s back to get around.’
Both Howletts and sister park Port Lympne Reserve; have impressive breeding records with western lowland gorillas. This latest adorable arrival will cement the parks’ reputation as world leaders in breeding these species, bringing the total number of successful births across both parks to a staggering 138.
Adrian Harland, Animal Director added: ‘Western lowland gorillas are one of the species that we are best known for and we are justly proud of our breeding programme, which is the best in the world. As well as caring for gorillas at our parks we also work closely with The Aspinall Foundation to protect them in the wild, and where appropriate, reintroduce gorillas born at the parks back into their natural environment.’
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild. Estimates range from 50,000 to 150,000 individuals remaining; however the true figure is very difficult to gauge. It is estimated that if the number of western lowland gorilla continues to decline at the present rate the species may be extinct by 2020.
Meanwhile, over at sister park Howletts, keepers have announced the name of their beautiful infant gorilla, who made her public debut at the beginning of May, as Soundi, a mixture of her mother’s and father’s names – Djanghou and Sanki and a tribute to her grandmother Sounda.
In other news, Port Lympne Reserve has announced a packed programme of events for May Half Term, including free animal talks, games, activities and competitions to win prizes.
For further information, including opening times, entry prices and other special events please visit www.aspinallfoundation.org/portlympne