Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shamba the Gorilla Turns 50

Shamba, a female western lowland gorilla at Zoo Atlanta, turned 50 on Sunday, May 24. The Zoo’s eldest primate is the sixth oldest member of her species living in North America and one of the 10 oldest gorillas in the world.

Born in Africa in 1959, Shamba is one of only three surviving members of the original group of western lowland gorillas that moved to Zoo Atlanta in the 1980s (The others are female Choomba and male Ozzie, both 48.) The first residents of the Zoo’s Ford African Rain Forest, Shamba and her contemporaries, including the legendary late Willie B., were the founders of what is today the nation’s second-largest collection of western lowland gorillas.

Since 1989, 17 gorillas have been born at Zoo Atlanta. Among these are Shamba’s son Taz, 19, and his offspring Kali, Kazi and Macy Baby, all 3, and Gunther, 2. Shamba’s contributions to the zoological community far exceed her Zoo Atlanta progeny: she has four children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren living at other accredited institutions in North America.

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