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Oh, how sweet it is! Our new baby gorilla has a name!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

We are happy to announce that the newest member of our gorilla family has a name! The newborn girl, who will be 6 weeks old on Friday, has been named Zuna (zoo-nah), which means “sweet” in the African language, Lingala (lin-gah-lah). Lingala is a Bantu language spoken in the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a large part of the Republic of the Congo, two of seven countries that the western lowland gorilla lives in.

Zuna will be 6 weeks old on Friday. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Zuna is the second baby for mom Nadiri and the first between her and dad, 21-year-old Kwame. Since Zuna was born, the gorilla keepers have been providing round-the-clock care and supplemental bottle feedings of human infant formula.

“Nadiri has been showing good maternal care and while she and Zuna continue to bond, nursing has not been sufficient for proper nourishment,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Unfortunately, Nadiri was not lactating enough so we have adjusted our neonatal care plan to ensure acceptable weight gains. We have the baby in human care for now, so we can provide all of the baby’s nutrition. She is being cared for in the gorilla bedroom area, adjacent to Nadiri and the rest of the family, who can hear, smell and touch the baby.”

In addition to dad Kwame and Zuna, the other members of Nadiri’s family are: her 5-year-old daughter, Yola, Akenji, Uzumma and her 1-year-old son, Kitoko. Another group, which includes Vip (father of Yola) and female Jumoke, lives in a separate habitat area. 
Hello sweetness! The name Zuna means "sweet" in the African language, Lingala. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.

The opportunity to name Zuna was given to the Odermat family and Brown Bear Car Wash as a show of gratitude for their big-hearted support of Woodland Park Zoo for more than 30 years. The Odermats have owned the environmentally-safe Brown Bear Car Wash for more than 60 years.

“The Brown Bear Car Wash family enjoys decades’ long association of support for our world-class Woodland Park Zoo. We are appreciative of the exemplary care provided to the wildlife and the zoo’s grounds. Our family's involvement results in understanding that the zoo and its conservation mission feature many elements beyond the opportunity to view wildlife. We applaud the zoo's educational efforts focused on conservation and sustainability,” said Mary Odermat. “We were honored, thrilled and grateful for the privilege to select a name for the newest little gorilla. Brown Bear Car Wash looks forward to years of continuing support of Woodland Park Zoo.”

Nadiri, seen here several years ago with a young Yola, is bonding behind-the-scenes with new baby Zuna. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Growing Up Gorilla
Stay tuned for updates and milestones about Zuna, Kitoko and Yola by visiting and following the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #GrowingUpGorilla.

Shower her with Love!
To share in the love and joy of this new baby bundle, we are asking our community to help us throw a virtual baby shower for Nadiri! Help us celebrate and show your love to Nadiri, Kwame and new baby girl by making a gift of any size. 

A special thank you to Shellie Hart and Warm 106.9 for their incredible support of Zuna's baby shower!

Help gorillas in their natural range
Every visit to Woodland Park Zoo supports conservation of animals in the wild. Join the zoo by recycling old cell phones and other used handheld electronics through ECO-CELL to help preserve gorilla habitat. Reclaiming the minerals in electronics and diverting them from landfills help reduce demand for mining in gorilla habitat. Drop off used handheld electronics including cell phones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, adapters, chargers, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems and their accessories at drop boxes located at both zoo entrances or the gorilla overlook. Funds generated from ECO-CELL support the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

ECO-CELL drop boxes to recycle old cell phones and handheld electronics are located at zoo entrances or at the overlook at the gorilla habitat. Photo: Elizabeth Bacher/Woodland Park Zoo

Become a ZooParent in honor of Zuna! 
ZooParent adoptions—which can include a plush toy—are the perfect way to pay tribute to the zoo’s newest addition. ZooParent adoptions help the zoo provide exceptional care for all of Woodland Park Zoo's amazing animals and support conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.