There’s no better way to celebrate World Gorilla Day than with our adorable animal ambassador, Zahra! Our 3.5-month-old western lowland gorilla infant is on the move, riding on mom Calaya’s back and practicing her walking skills. Primate keeper Lynne McMahan shares some of her favorite moments in this Q+A.
What has been your favorite Zahra moment in the last few weeks?
For the first time this week, I saw Zahra ride on Calaya’s back! Other keepers and volunteers mentioned they had seen her do this, so I spent a lot of time watching the troop. When they came inside for the day, Calaya marched in with Zahra riding proudly on her back!
This is an exciting milestone for little Zahra, as it would be for any gorilla infant. It is much easier for mother gorillas to travel, forage, feed and interact with other members of the troop if her baby can ride on her back without support.
What is Zahra’s personality like?
She is adorable, curious and resilient! The first two are self-explanatory, and she is resilient for putting up with the shenanigans from the rest of the troop. During scuffles, she holds on tight to Calaya while the troop works out the conflict. She also puts up with big brother Moke’s antics! He tries to grab at her and play, but Calaya is still very protective.