The Ramat Gan Safari’s western lowland gorilla population saw two new additions in recent weeks, with caretakers attributing the baby boom to the vigor of alpha male Lucas. Since 1997 Lucas, who was transferred to Israel from a Netherlands zoo, has fathered 10 gorilla infants.
The sex of the newest arrival, born last Thursday, is still not known, as the animal handlers prefer to leave new babies undisturbed with their mothers for the first few weeks. The other new arrival, a female born about two weeks ago, was named “Amelia” after departing Ramat Gan Safari zoologist Dr. Amelia Terkel.
Caretakers said the babies can be expected to be seen frolicking independently in their enclosures within the month.
Western lowland gorillas are considered endangered, although they are far more populous than some other gorilla species. Most of the gorillas in zoos around the world are western lowland gorillas.
The Ramat Gan Safari participates in an international breeding program, which means that the new babies born in Israel could be sent to other zoos once they reach maturity, in six to eight years. The father, Lucas, and the mothers of the babies were all transferred from zoos outside Israel.
The Ramat Gan Safari covers about 250 acres and houses some 1,600 animal species, many of whom roam free in the grounds.