On June 7, 2018 the Toronto Zoo welcomed a new critically endangered Western lowland gorilla.
We are excited to announce that Ngozi, our 20-year-old Western lowland gorilla, gave birth in the early morning of June 7, 2018. Both mom and baby are healthy and doing well, and Wildlife Care Staff will continue to monitor their development. At this time, we cannot determine the sex of the baby as it remains close to mom.
This is Ngozi's third birth, all sired by Charles, the Zoo's 46-year-old silverback male. This newborn is the 10th of this critically endangered species to be sired by Charles and born here at the Toronto Zoo. The Zoo is part of the Western lowland gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. This newest addition to the Zoo's troop is genetically significant for the North American Western lowland gorilla population.
You may catch a glimpse of Ngozi and her newborn in the African Rainforest pavilion, however, we ask that visitors keep their voices down during this sensitive time. Please note there is no confirmed viewing schedule.
November 15, 2018
Charlie continues to try the foods mom Ngozi or sister Nneka eats. She doesn’t fully consume all of these foods but rather “mouths” them, although Keepers have seen her eat a few of the items! Because Charlie remains very close to mom (and sister Nneka), Keepers cannot weigh her as they do not separate them while she’s young. However, she continues to grow and become stronger and will continue to mouth and consume new foods as she gets older. She nurses from Ngozi on-demand several times a day.
December 20, 2018
Encouraging foraging behaviour through different types of feeders, such as this one Ngozi is retrieving browse from, is an important part of animal enrichment at the Toronto Zoo. Charlie, with her still wobbly steps, is starting to show interest in the feeders as well.
The Toronto Zoo’s Behavioural Husbandry Program is designed to provide enrichment and training experiences that mimic an animal’s natural behaviour and provide mental stimulation as well as choice within their environments. These experiences can include various puzzle feeders, novel substrates, and unique scents which encourage our animals to exhibit natural behaviours and as a result are a benefit to the animals overall health and welfare.
December 26, 2018
Typical toddler, has more fun with the box than the present! Watch as Charlie experiences her first Christmas enrichment.
October 22, 2018
Sister love! Charlie and Nneka have been spending a lot of time together recently. So much so, that Ngozi sometimes has to steal her back! Nneka is the only member of the troop lucky enough to hold Charlie right now as she is Ngozi’s daughter. Keepers observe Ngozi walking past Nneka and “dropping her off” as if she’s asking her to babysit under her watchful eye.
September 24, 2018
Look at these pearly whites. Charlie now has at least nine of her teeth.
September 9, 2018
Charlie was spotted stealing mom Ngozi's cucumber. At three months old, she has developed nine teeth, and as a result has become much more curious about mom's food, including apple browse and leaves too. She still nurses on-demand from Ngozi and this will continue for the next couple of years. She won't start eating solid foods until she's about five months old.
August 15, 2018
Baby Charlie is now teething!
Four of her teeth have now erupted, both her top two and bottom two incisors. You'll often see her chewing on her fist and fingers as she goes through the teething process. She has been very engaged and curious with the gorilla Keepers, especially during feeding times. Mom Ngozi still keeps baby Charlie very close to her body as she is still very young, and Charlie is always in her arms. Charlie still cannot eat solid food, but is always watching her mom eat, and even got her hands onto Ngozi's carrot the other day!
July 24, 2018
Our Western lowland gorilla baby continues to grow and is doing great. She is awake more often, continues to nurse, and is getting stronger, with Keepers observing her holding onto Ngozi's belly for longer periods of time while on the move. She has a more auburn hue to the hair on her head, which is just like dad Charles, whereas Nneka and Nassir have more black hair on theirs. Although she has dad's hair, her face looks a lot like Ngozi when she was a baby
June 14, 2018
It's a GIRL!
This morning we hosted a gender and name reveal for our new baby gorilla. This female baby was named Charlie by Wildlife Care Staff as a namesake of her father Charles, the Zoo's 46-year-old silverback male.
Charles came to the Toronto Zoo as an orphan in 1974 and has come to be one of our most iconic Zoo residents. He has proven himself to be an ideal example of what a silverback represents, siring 10 surviving offspring and being grandfather to six gorillas. The keepers traditionally name the baby with the first initial of their mother's name however, they felt that with this new birth it was time to honour the patriarch of the Toronto Zoo's Western lowland gorilla troop, Charles.
Mom, 20 year-old Ngozi, and baby Charlie are both healthy and doing well, and we will continue to monitor their development. You may catch a glimpse of Ngozi and Charlie in the African Rainforest pavilion on your next visit.