This update was written by primate keepers Alex Reddy and Matt Spence.
Our western lowland gorilla infant, Moke, turned one month old on Tuesday! He continues to do well and remains bright and alert.
Perhaps the biggest physical change in Moke is that he seems to be gaining strength by the day. Calaya no longer needs to cradle him all the time. He is able to hang on tight to his mom’s chest while she knuckle-walks throughout the habitat.
As keeper Melba Brown mentioned in the last #gorllastory update, Calaya is participating in training sessions that help us evaluate her body condition and overall health. During these sessions, Moke will often look around to see where the keepers’ voices are coming from and will make eye contact with us. Sometimes, we will even hear him emit a pleasure rumble vocalization or two! That lets us know that he is very content.
Although the novelty of having a new gorilla is still very exciting to our keeper team, volunteers and visitors, Moke’s troop is gradually getting back into their normal routine. It is encouraging that the troop remains a cohesive unit. As long as Calaya allows Kibibi and Mandara to observe and interact with Moke, they take every advantage to do so. Baraka remains very interested and will watch over Calaya and Moke closely—just as a silverback who is protecting his troop should. When he interacts with Moke, he does so in a gentle way. Last week, we saw Baraka and Kibibi playing together in the Great Ape House’s outdoor yard. They will both be great playmates for Moke when he is a bit older and more independent from mom.
Planning a visit to see Moke? Stop by the Great Ape House at 11:30 a.m. daily to catch our keeper talk and get the latest updates on Moke and the troop. Check out our Daily Programs calendar for details on this and other fun animal encounters around the Zoo.