PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – Tuesday, August 12, at 11 a.m.

CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Zoo is thrilled to introduce to the community its one-week-old Western Lowland gorilla, named “Mondika” (pronounced Mondeeka.)   The baby was born on August 4 and will be nicknamed “Mona” if it’s a girl or “Mondo” if it’s a boy.  Mondika’s public debut is WEATHER PERMITTING and will be taking place in the Zoo’s outdoor gorilla yard on Tuesday, August 12, at 11 a.m.    

Mondika will be going out with mom, “Asha,” dad “Jomo,” and family members “M’linzi,” “Samantha,” “Anju,” and baby “Gladys.”  Baby appearances are tentative and may be canceled, shortened or rescheduled due to weather.  Visitors can check the Zoo’s website daily to find out if the baby will be making an appearance that day.  

“Because Asha continues to be such a good mom, holding the baby close and nursing regularly, the Zoo’s animal care staff has determined it is best for the family to begin to spend time outdoors again,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director at the Cincinnati Zoo. “The baby appears to be growing, very healthy, strong, and active and we could not be more pleased with how Asha is handling her new role as mom.”

The Cincinnati Zoo is now home to nine Western Lowland gorillas. This is the 49th baby gorilla born at the Cincinnati Zoo, continuing a long and rich history with this species. This is Asha’s first baby and Jomo’s second baby, his first being Bakari, a male gorilla that was born on August 13, 2006 at the Cincinnati Zoo. 

There are about 765 gorillas in zoos worldwide including approximately 360 in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP) for this species. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild, with less than 175,000 individuals. Due primarily to habitat destruction caused by logging, mineral mining and agricultural expansion, wild gorilla numbers continue to shrink.  The bushmeat trade – the killing of wild animals to be used as human food – is also a major threat to the western lowland gorilla population throughout the Central African rainforests.  Over 1,000 gorillas are illegally poached for the bushmeat trade each year. The Cincinnati Zoo supports wild gorilla conservation efforts like the Mbeli Bai Study in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo.  The Mbeli Bai Study is the longest running research being done with wild western lowland gorillas.  Through research, local education programs, publications and documentaries, the Mbeli Bai Study is raising international awareness for gorillas and their struggle for survival. For more information, visit www.cincinnatizoo.org.

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