Western lowland gorilla

We at Wilhelma are very proud of our harmonious gorilla family. Silverback Kibo is not at all a macho, but maybe his 5 ladies respect him just because of this sunny disposition (he is a very friendly father). Three generations are represented in the group: grandma Mimi does not only have a little one herself (son Meru); her grown-up daughter Mutasi is now bringing up her first daughter (Shira) within the family. The third playmate in the gang is Kolo's son Lengai. Mimi, Undi and Dina, our old gorilla ladies, came to Wilhelma after being captured in the wild, so they were imported from Africa when they were still very little. Our new ape house, into which they moved in 1973, was considered at the time to be very modern.

Now criticized as "bathroom architecture", in those times the installations were built according to the strict demands of hygiene, and according to functional aspects it is really quite a success: a carousel, a paddling pool, places to hide and to retreat to (in the cages, which can be closed as needed), a quarantine section and also daylight and fresh air from above at all times of the year.

Today, however, more important than the hygiene aspect is that the zookeepers constantly think up new things to keep the animals busy. There are "poking tins", hollow pieces of wood with raisins inside, balls filled with food on the wire-meshing roof, lots of small feeding sessions spread over the day – above all with leaves and twigs – and toys such as canisters, cardboard boxes, pieces of cloth and so on, all things for the animals to enjoy. We are very happy that our gorillas will be able to move, in 2010, into their new house in the upper part of the park, with natural open enclosures.