Memphis Zoo gorilla gains females friends - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Memphis Zoo gorilla gains females friends

The Memphis Zoo has two new additions.

Thursday, zoo keepers unveiled a mother gorilla and her daughter.

The hope now is they can become a family with a male gorilla already at the zoo.
They are what all the zoo animals and visitors are talking about. 23 -year old Penny and her 11 year old daughter Kebara.

Penny and Kembara are on loan from the San Diego Zoo. Their assignment is to make a family with the zoo's long time bachelor Mwelu.
"They will get the chance to get together and get to know each other," Brian Carter of the Memphis Zoo said.

Zoo officials said the mother and daughter are still warming up to the 21-year old male gorilla but they are expecting the flirting to begin soon.

"And they start giving each other gifts and they make a real soft little cooing sound to kind of talk. In fact, one of our females actually will make a kissing sound," primate keeper Nancy Charles said.

Zoo officials said a lot of what happens next is up to nature.  They expect the animals will mate but Penny and Kembara are on birth control.  

Their primary job is to get the male in the mood for a family. Then the zoo will bring in females from other zoos to produce children.

So will there be a problem with one male gorilla and several females?  Not according to zoo officials. They said in the wild you are likely to see a dominant male surrounded by females because several females are usually on hand to help raise the offspring.

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