L.A. Zoo Welcomes New Gorilla

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Zoo announced today that it has welcomed a female western lowland gorilla that was moved there from the San Diego Zoo.

 Ndjia, who is 24, has been paired with the zoo's male silverback gorilla, Kelly, through a Species Survival Plan program that breeds western lowland gorillas in order to ensure the survival of a species that is considered critically endangered in the wild.

 Ndjia was slowly introduced to the zoo's other gorillas -- Kelly, 31, Rapunzel, 24, and Evelyn, 42.

 ``What a spitfire,” said Nancy Bunn, senior animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. ``Ndjia may be smaller than the others, but she sure has spunk. In the short time that Ndjia has joined us, she quickly learned to navigate her way within this family group. I believe her captivating personality, along with the other gorillas, is sure to engage visitors and ultimately ignite a desire to learn more about their conservation story in the wild.”

 The move has allowed Ndjia to be placed in a breeding situation for the first time in her life, and zoo officials said they hope Ndjia and Kelly will take a liking to each other, as potential offspring could help educate people on a species that is considered critically endangered due to illegal hunting, diseases such as the Ebola virus and habitat degradation and destruction.

 Western lowland gorillas are native to the lowlands and swamp forests of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Angola.

Photo: Getty Images

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