Philadelphia Zoo Debuts New Baby Gorilla


We want to thank so many for your outpouring of support and genuine excitement around the birth of a new baby gorilla at the Zoo. We are truly amazed and humbled. 

In the coming weeks, as the baby's gender is determined, we will be working with our thoughtful and committed keeper staff to develop suggested names that we would like help from our community in finalizing. So please stay tuned - once we have names for consideration, we will let you know so that you can weigh in and vote for your favorite!

Philadelphia Zoo is pleased to welcome a new addition to the family: a western lowland gorilla baby born to Honi, the Zoo’s 21-year-old female and 31-year old Motuba on Friday, August 26th. This is the second birth for Honi and the first birth for Honi and Motuba together. The baby is currently on exhibit along with the rest of the troop in PECO Primate Reserve.

Mother and baby appear healthy and will be monitored by Zoo staff in the coming weeks and months. Like newborn humans, gorillas are essentially helpless, relying completely on their mother for care.

“We are very excited to welcome Honi’s new baby,” says Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer. “The Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability. This birth is an opportunity to engage our visitors in caring about the future of gorillas in the wild.”

Western lowland gorillas are listed as Critically Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with threats including habitats destruction to palm oil and timber plantations as global demand for palm oil and paper continues to rise. Philadelphia Zoo empowers guests to become great ape heroes encouraging them to join the Zoo to save these majestic animals by stopping junk mail and thanking manufacturers who are leading the way toward using palm oil that’s deforestation-free.

“Given Honi’s experience, we’re not surprised she’s been a great mother so far, but we’re very pleased that both she and the baby appear healthy,” says Baker. “The baby will be among the first generation of animals to grow up and explore through Zoo360, a first-in-the-world animal travel and exploration system.”

In the coming weeks the Zoo will enlist the help of visitors and social media followers to name the newborn using names provided by Zoo staff. The public is encouraged to cast a vote for their favorite baby name, once they vote their information will be entered to win a Zoo prize package courtesy of PECO that includes a family plus membership, a behind the scenes experience, 6abc Zoo Balloon ride for 4, $25 food voucher  and $25 zoo shop gift certificate. 

The infant currently lives in PECO Primate Reserve with mom Honi, dad Motuba and other troop mate female gorilla Kira. Viewing times may vary as the baby is constantly with mom who and decides where she prefers to be each day. Visitors may see the family on exhibit inside of PECO Primate Reserve, in their outdoor habitat or hanging out in the Zoo360 trail system. When mom wants to have quiet time she might retire to her downstairs bedroom with the newborn.

Baby Gorilla