On Thursday, Nov. 18, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay celebrated a very special birthday. Bolingo, the first gorilla ever born at the park turned five years old. The celebration centered on enrichment activities for the endangered Western lowland gorillas and included cardboard birthday cakes and treats like the apes’ favorite fruits and vegetables hidden around their Myombe Reserve habitat. Enrichment can take many forms and is usually something different, unusual and challenging that stimulates the animals mentally and physically.
When the gorillas were released on to the habitat to explore the party, Bolingo instantly ran towards his cardboard cake and carried it around the habitat for the whole group to see.
Tonia Westfall senior primate supervisor shared her excitement about today’s milestone. Tonia has worked at Busch Gardens for more than 20 years and been a part of Bolingo’s life since his birth.
"It’s great to see our first baby grow," she said. "Throughout the years, he’s learned how to be part of the social group of gorillas here at Busch Gardens. During his first year, his mother Kishina was very protective of him and always stayed within arms’ length of the baby. One of the coolest things has been witnessing how she know trusts him to entertain himself and live as gorilla with the family here in Myombe Reserve."
Bolingo celebrates his first birthday at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay beside mother Kishina with a banana cake.