The two newest Western lowland gorillas to join Busch Gardens can now be viewed in their Myombe Reserve habitat by guests.
Mary and daughter Pele join Kishina, Inaki, Sim Sim and Bolingo on habitat daily. Mother and daughter, Mary, 22, and, Pele, 8, came to Busch Gardens in mid February from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, as part of a Species Survival Plan.
The SSP is an internationally recognized program initiated by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as a cooperative population management program to maintain the genetic diversity of endangered species. It pairs animals to breed in order to sustain animal populations. The gorillas were both born at the Brownsville zoo.
The female gorillas may ultimately mate with Sim Sim or Bolingo, depending on the gorilla's compatibility.
Western lowland gorillas are native to Africa and are critically endangered animals. Their greatest threats in the wild are humans due to habitat degradation, poaching, disease transmission and civil wars. Myombe Reserve is a 3-acre rainforest environment opened in 1992.