Come warm weather Franklin Park Zoo goers will get to see the troop of gorillas outside thanks to a new outdoor habitat.
The new habitat 360,000 cubic feet habitat cost $8.1 million, and was made possible by generous donors who wish to remain anonymous. The funding for the new gorilla habitat, with restricted capital donations, was made prior to the start of the pandemic, according to a press release.
Six gorillas currently call Franklin Park Zoo home. Little Joe, Kitombe (Kit), his mate Kiki and their three offspring – Kambiri, Azize and Pablo, a male gorilla born in October 2020.
They will get to explore a new habitat that has a mix of real and fabricated trees, a waterfall, climbing vines and a multitude of built-in foraging opportunities. Guests will also be able observe the natural behaviors and social dynamics of the gorilla family. The exhibit features corridors leading to a central observational area within the exhibit, so guests will have a unique perspective of the gorillas’ home.
“We are thrilled to open the new outdoor gorilla exhibit, which will be an enriching experience not just for the gorillas, but for our guests as well,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “We want to reach people through their hearts to build empathy for wildlife and habitats. As you observe the tender moments between a gorilla mom and her baby, or gorilla siblings playing together, you develop a better understanding of the family dynamics and social structure of these animals. Through this opportunity, guests can also better understand the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem health.”
Zoo New England is an active participant in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs work to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, many of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild.