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N.C. Zoo plans gorilla exhibit expansion

Posted January 13, 2015

A young gorilla and his mother on exhibit at the North Carolina Zoo. (Photo courtesy Valerie Abbott)

The N.C. Zoo's gorillas will get bigger digs this year.

Construction will start this month to renovate and expand the popular exhibit. The work will allow the zoo to add more gorillas to the five who already live there.

According to a press release, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Gorilla Species Survival Plan has recommended the transfer of three gorillas from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., to the Asheboro zoo.

An adult male, an adult female and her four-year-old grandson will join Bomassa and Apollo, the zoo’s two-year-old male gorillas, their mothers, Jamani and Olympia, and another female, Acacia. Keeping gorilla families together is considered critical for the well-being of the animals, the press release said.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to enhance the zoo experience for our visitors by adding more gorillas to our habitat,” said Dr. David Jones, director of the zoo, in a press release. “Besides being a zoo favorite, the gorilla habitat helps us to educate people about our conservation efforts in Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda, which benefits not just gorillas but many other animals.”

As the work begins, all gorillas have been moved off the exhibit. The gorilla habitat is closed until it's complete. If weather cooperates, the new habitat could be open by mid-summer.

The N.C. Zoo is in Asheboro about 90 minutes from the Triangle.


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