The sex of the infant gorilla will be revealed using dyed coconuts as part of the Zoo's daily gorilla food toss. The inside of the fruits will be colored pink or blue to match the gender of the infant and given to the family troop to break apart during the presentation. In addition to being a tasty treat, coconuts are a type of animal enrichment used at the Zoo to help encourage natural behaviors.
Riverbanks invites guests to show off their choice on whether the infant is a boy or girl by wearing either pink or blue to the gender reveal.
The nearly two-month-old western lowland gorilla was born to mom Kazi and dad Cenzoo on June 4and is the first gorilla infant to be raised at Riverbanks in the Zoo's 44-year history. During the first few months of life, gorillas are in constant physical contact with their mothers. First-time mom Kazi often is seen nursing, grooming or just holding her infant.
"Recently, Kazi has been letting the infant sit between her legs and has attempted to carry it on her back," said Emily Guertin, senior keeper of gorilla and small mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. "We've also noticed that the infant's grip is becoming stronger, so it's moving around more."
Young gorillas become more independent between 4 and 6 months of age and typically begin walking on all fours at about 4 to 5 months old.
"The infant is now starting to really notice its surroundings and has been seen reaching for bamboo or food that Kazi is eating," Guertin said.
Guertin adds that Cenzoo, Macy, and Acacia also have been interacting with the infant more. Kazi has allowed them to touch the infant but not hold it, and Cenzoo often is seen sitting by Kazi and the young gorilla.
Please note: Media planning to cover the event should contact Susan O'Cain at 803.603.2325 firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00pm on Wednesday, August 1. Media should arrive at the Zoo no later than 12:45pm on Thursday, August 2, and check in at Guest Relations.
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Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 2,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and one of America's best public gardens. The Zoo opened on April 25, 1974, and for more than four decades, has connected individuals, families and school children with the natural world. Riverbanks is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is recognized as a global leader in animal care and welfare, education, recreation, science and wildlife conservation. It is the mission of the Zoo and Garden to create meaningful connections and inspire actions that will have a lasting impact on conservation. For more information, visit www.riverbanks.org or connect with Riverbanks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat.