NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Audubon Zoo is expecting the birth of a critically endangered western lowland gorilla, and has created an online baby registry as a way for the public to get involved in the upcoming birth. This will be the first gorilla birth at Audubon Zoo in 24 years and the first offspring for 13-year-old Tumani, who came to Audubon from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 2017.
The public can help shower Tumani and baby with nutritious food, engaging enrichment, and training materials carefully selected by Audubon Zoo’s animal care and veterinary team.
“Audubon spends more than $70,000 a month to feed more than 15,000 animals in our care,” said Vice President and Managing Director of Audubon Zoo Steve Marshall. “Caring for our animals is a top priority for Audubon. Your support will provide nutritious diets and premium veterinary care to our animals like Tumani to ensure they are as healthy and happy as possible.”
This pregnancy is the result of successful breeding between Tumani and Okpara, a 27-year-old silverback gorilla, who came to Audubon from Franklin Park Zoo in 2017. The offspring, due in late summer, will be Tumani and Okpara’s first.
Audubon Zoo’s gorillas are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. The Gorilla Species Survival Plan manages 354 gorillas in 48 North American zoos to ensure a genetically diverse population and the long-term sustainability of the species.
Many gorilla populations have declined or disappeared over the past few decades. Western lowland gorillas have been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, with a population decline of more than 80 percent, mainly due to illegal hunting, disease, habitat loss, and an increase in poaching.
Audubon Zoo reopened on June 3, 2020, following a nearly three-month closure and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas reopened on July 16, 2020, following a four-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following State and City public health directives, Audubon is reopening its family of parks and museums following a phased approach that strictly limits attendance and programming. Advance tickets to the Zoo and Aquarium are required and can be reserved here.
Click HERE for Tumani’s Baby Shower Registry