Aspinall Foundation staff at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Ashford in Kent were over the moon to welcome a new member to the critically endangered western lowland gorilla family. The baby was born just in time for Mother’s Day to parents Mumba and Djala, though it is too early to determine the newborn’s sex.
Since arriving in the UK in 1986, Djala has fathered an amazing fifteen babies, with this being Mumba’s third birth. Djala was rescued when he was just 6 months old from the Congo after his family had been slaughtered by poachers, and displayed signs of trauma from the abuse he had been subjected to. It just goes to show you what love and attention can achieve now that he has overcome his past and fathered so many children.
The Aspinall Foundation’s two parks look after the largest group of western lowland gorillas in human care, and the latest addition takes the number of successful births to an unbelievable 132. The Aspinall Foundation run several conservation projects around the globe, with their main project in Congo where they protect 1 million acres of land known as the Batéké Plateau.
Head Gorilla Keeper at Port Lympne, Phil Ridges, said –
I am absolutely delighted to welcome this new arrival to our family group. Mumba and Djala are fantastic parents, very protective and caring and the little one is doing very well. Infants are vital to the survival of this critically endangered species and I always look forward to watching them grow and develop. Western lowland gorillas are one of the species that The Aspinall Foundation’s wild animal parks are best known for and we are justly proud of our breeding programme, which is the best in the world. As well as caring for gorillas at our parks we also protect them in the wild, and where possible, reintroduce gorillas born at the parks back into their natural environment.
Congratulations to all the staff at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, and of course Djala and Mumba! We look forward to watching their latest additions first few steps over the coming months.