ATLANTA — Zoo Atlanta is sharing some good news for one of its animals - Lulu, the 19-year-old western lowland gorilla is expecting!
Zoo staff said they confirmed the news with an ultrasound early 2019. The new addition is expected to arrive in summer 2019.
The infant will be the third for Lulu and 29-year-old silverback Taz. It will also be the grandchild of Lulu's famous father, and Zoo Atlanta icon, Willie B.
“We’re thrilled about welcoming another new member to the continuing legacy of the gorilla program at Zoo Atlanta,” said Hayley Murphy the DVM Deputy Director.
The news of the birth comes at a critical time for the western lowland gorilla species, which is now classified as critically endangered. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the wild population of the species has been reduced by nearly 60 percent, thanks to threats from poaching, illegal hunting and habitat loss.
Lulu's new baby will be the 24th gorilla born at Zoo Atlanta since the opening of their nationally-recognized exhibit, which houses one of the largest populations of gorillas in North America. The Zoo, home to 20 gorillas, is also home to two of the world's oldest - Choomba, 56, and Ozzie, the world’s oldest living male gorilla at 58. Gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of about 40.