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New silverback gorilla adjusting well

Posted by: Ric Brewer, Communications

You may remember the high-flying tale of Leonel, Woodland Park Zoo’s newest western lowland gorilla, from back when he arrived via Fed-Ex in the winter.

We promised you an update, and, though Leonel is still behind the scenes, he has certainly been making strides toward adjusting to his new life at Woodland Park Zoo.

Hugh Bailey, lead keeper for the gorilla unit says that Leonel has adapted "better than expected" to his new situation. "He had a lot to get used to," remarked Bailey, saying that Leo has become comfortable with a host of new sounds including the roar of nearby lions, and new people.

Leo is also getting used to new gorillas in his life. Due to the nature of gorilla social dynamics, the keepers are proceeding slowly with introductions, beginning with visual introductions and seeing how this plays out before going to the next steps of physical introductions. "We really do this at their pace; they need time to get used to one another before they meet face-to-face."

Bailey notes that Leonel's first sightings of "the girls," the female members of his new group, were pretty much the results that were expected. He displayed with a variety of typical male gorilla actions that are part of "showing you're a tough guy," according to Bailey.

For now, the 341-pound gorilla and his potential female group mates continue to woo each other while keepers stage the next steps in his journey toward acceptance into his new family.

Photo courtesy of Zoo de Granby, Leonel's former home.


Claire-M. Lepage said…
Hello Bailey!

It's good to read news from Leonel whom I love so much, although it's been awhile since I sought news on your blog site. I think of him very often and I'm waiting for the day you'll write that he is on exibit, because my intention is to fly over the continent to see him.

I wish I could send you some photos taken during the 2007-2008 Xmas Holidays.

Could you post a photo of Leonel behind the scene when he has view on his future wives, I would like so much to see his facial expression, please?


Claire-M. Lepage from Qu├ębec city, QC, Canada
Claire-M. Lepage said…
Oh! I'm sorry Hugh, I went too fast in writing my message, I called you by your family name. So sorry!

Gorilla hugs,

Claire-M. Lepage
Unknown said…
Where did Leo come from? How is he doing? Is he on exhibit yet? Who are the females he lives with?
Leonel is from Zoo de Granby in Canada. Currently he is still doing introductions with the female members of Pete the silverback's group which includes Nadiri, Naku and Akenji. He's not on public exhibit yet. Introductions are proceeding well!