FactsWhere do the zoo Gorillas come from?

Where do the zoo Gorillas come from?

  • Colo, the first gorilla born in a zoo (© Angela Meder)

Nearly all the gorillas living in zoos today are western gorillas. Until the 1970s, many thousands of gorillas died because young animals were captured for zoos. As a rule, several group members were killed in order to seize a single young gorilla. In 1976 the gorilla was included in Appendix I of CITES and it was not allowed to import them from the wild any more. At that time, out of 498 gorillas in captivity, 403 had been born in the wild. At the end of 1991, more zoo gorillas were already born in captivity than in the wild.

On December 22, 1956, Columbus Zoo in Ohio, USA, registered the first gorilla birth in captivity. The female infant was called Colo. She was not raised by her mother but by humans. Frequently, zoo gorillas reject their babies: they do not nurse them, and they may even mistreat them. In such a case the babies are bottle-fed.