Changing Planet

Gorilla Baby Makes Public Debut at San Diego Zoo


A six-month-old western lowland gorilla at the San Diego Zoo holds onto the back of 14-year-old Ndjia in the Gorilla Tropics exhibit, today.

This marked his first time on exhibit with his family, the Zoo said in a statement. “The young gorilla, named Frank, is the fifth member of the Zoo’s gorilla troop lead by a silverback named Paul Donn. The other members of the troop are Frank’s mother, 12-year-old Azizi and a 13-year-old female, Imani. Gorillas are peaceful, family-oriented animals and all of the members of the troop take responsibility for caring and raising Frank.”


The new gorilla weighs more than 13 pounds, but zookeepers expect that he’ll grow to be more than 400 pounds. His father, Paul Donn, weighs 450 pounds.

Gorillas usually grow to full size by the time they are 15 years old. They are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

This year has been declared the Year of the Gorilla by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, United Nations Environmental Programme and other organizations working toward conserving the gorilla population.

The San Diego Zoo is home to 13 western lowland gorillas.

Photo taken March 6, 2009, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

Related blog post:

Year of the Gorilla 2009

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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