Zoo Knoxville Throwing Gorilla Babies A Birthday Party

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Zoo Knoxville Throwing Gorilla Babies A Birthday Party

Posted: 06/10/2016
Zoo Knoxville’s gorilla babies have just turned one and the zoo is throwing them a party to celebrate.  The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, June 11, at the Gorilla Valley courtyard.

Obi and Ubuntu will discover new toys and special treats when they come out of their overnight dens.  Zoo guests are invited to come watch the fun as the precocious youngsters take it all in.

Obi, Hope and Ubuntu Gorilla
Photo by Tennessee Trails Photography

Obi, a female gorilla whose name means “heart”, was born on May 28, 2016.  Her half-brother Ubuntu, whose name means “I am because you are”, was born five days later on June 2, 2015.  The one-year-olds are active and a typical day in Gorilla Valley will find them climbing to the top of their indoor courtyard, entangled in a game of play or pestering each other as only siblings can.  They were the first gorilla babies ever born in Knoxville and are expecting the arrival of a new brother or sister in late summer or early fall when female Kowali gives birth.     

Obi and Ubuntu are important ambassadors for critically endangered Western lowland gorillas.  Zoo Knoxville works with other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as part of the combined conservation effort of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which manages the breeding and social placement of all gorillas in the U.S. and is working to save gorillas from extinction.

 Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Zoo Knoxville features exhibits of wild animals in natural habitats and is world renowned for its efforts in conservation and species survival. Zoo Knoxville is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Knoxville’s largest attraction, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Currently, the zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information visit zooknoxville.org