Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomes 2 female western lowland gorillas

Mary (left) and Pele (right) are mother and daughter western lowland gorillas that recently arrived at Utah's Hogle Zoo. Photo courtesy: Utah's Hogle Zoo

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 13, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s Hogle Zoo has announced the arrival of two female western lowland gorillas.

The happy news about the mother and daughter gorillas, named Mary and Pele, was shared Friday in a press release, which says the move was a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Gorilla Species Survival Plan, “which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse gorilla population for future generations.”

The duo came to Hogle Zoo from Busch Gardens Tampa. Mary, age 34, and Pele, age 20, were born at Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas, but have spent the last 12 years as part of the Tampa troop.

“During their time at Busch Gardens, their confidence and role within the troop has grown,” the press release says. “Both gorillas will complete a standard quarantine period in the Zoo’s great apes exhibit and may be visible to guests during that time.”

On their trip to Hogle Zoo, the mother and daughter were accompanied by staff from Busch Gardens, who said both gorillas traveled well and have “unique, fun personalities.”

“Mary has a pretty solid and confident disposition and has had four successful pregnancies that has helped enhanced her mothering skills,” the release says. “She is all about family; loving, supportive, and steady.

“Pele is an excellent problem solver who loves learning and playing with the younger gorillas. Both enjoy working with trainers and are known for their ‘happy food songs’ — the rumbling vocalizations that accompany their favorite meals!”

Hogle Zoo’s current troop, or gorilla social group, includes Husani, a 31-year-old male, Jabali, an 18-year-old female, and Georgia, the nearly 2-year-old daughter of Husani and Jabali.


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