Western Lowland Gorilla

Gorilla gorilla gorilla

The gorilla is the largest living primate. A gorilla must spend most of its day eating plants to maintain its large size. Despite its massive size and ferocious reputation, the gorilla is actually a peaceful and social animal. Gorillas and humans are close relatives, and share many things in common. They are very intelligent, have emotions and personalities, and live in family groups.

  • A troop of up to 20 gorillas is led and defended by a dominant male called a silverback.
  • A male gorilla has the strength of up to eight men.
  • Chest-beating is one way a gorilla shows that it’s excited.
  • Gorillas and humans have the same number of hairs on their bodies.

The Cincinnati Zoo is dedicated to gorilla conservation, both in the wild and in zoos. Click here to learn more about what the Cincinnati Zoo is doing for gorilla conservation.

After two years of construction, the new indoor gorilla habitat is open to the public. The floor-to-ceiling viewing glass will help the Zoo continue to inspire gorilla conservation by getting visitors #CloseEnoughToCare as they watch and engage with the Zoo’s gorillas. Keep in mind, the gorillas are still learning the ins and outs of their new dynamic complex. They may or may not be visible at all times.


Birthdate: 8/29/2015

Parents are Anju and Jomo.  This is Anju’s first baby and the 50th gorilla born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden since 1970.


Birthdate: 8/04/2014

Parents are Asha and Jomo.  Mondika (Pronounced Mondeeka)  is the name of an area in the Republic of Congo that habituates western lowland gorillas for up close observation, research and eco tourism.  Mondika is very curious and sociable. As any baby this young Mondika is totally dependent on her mother Asha to protect her.  She is at the age where everything is discovery, but is always within an arm’s reach of her mother.


Birthdate: 1/29/2013

Raised by surrogate humans and later introduced to surrogate gorilla moms M’Linzi and Mara. Gladys is a very well adjusted, confident and curious little gorilla.  Although she still depends on her surrogate mother M’Linzi to provide her a safe home, she readily explores on her own and engages all members of her group by initiating play.


Jomo headBirthdate:  07/18/1991

Jomo is a silverback gorilla and father to Mona and Elle. He is a super dad and also is the largest gorilla; twice as big as the adult females. The females in his group look to him for protection and leadership.


Samantha headBirthdate:  01/31/1970

Samantha hangs out near caves, also in grassy area under tree, left of stream.  Pink spot on lower lip, looks like tongue sticking out.  Grayest hair of the group (she’s the oldest) 


Mlinzi_headBirthdate:  12/07/1982

Mother of Mara and surrogate mother to Gladys.  She has a large, harmless lump on her chin and a  low brow that makes it look like she’s frowning.  She sits up on the tree and holds her hand to her head often. 


Mara_headBirthdate:  08/13/1995

Daughter of M’Linzi and second mom to Gladys.   She sits on the tree a lot and often likes to be alone.  She has puffy gray sideburns, is smaller than other females with a lanky thin body.


AshaHeadShotBirthdate:  12/04/2002

Asha is very outgoing and moves around the entire exhibit.  She has mostly dark black hair and is larger than most of the other females. Asha is very confident and a strong leader.  She is socially savvy and knows how to use her high status as a mother with the silverback to get him to back her in whatever she wants. She’s an excellent mother and is very protective her baby.


Anju 3Birthdate: 04/27/2001

Anju is shy and can be hard to spot.  She has very gray course looking hair, Wrinkles on her forehead and is larger than most of the other females.


Chewie headBirthdate:  09/17/1995

Chewie is an active gorilla who travels around the yard a lot and climbs into moat.  She has lots of rings and wrinkles around her eyes and nose and lots of black hair.


Birthdate:  10/17/1987

As part of a multi-zoo collaborative move recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), male gorilla Mshindi [ma-shin-dee] was relocated from the Louisville Zoo to Cincinnati and is starting to make himself at home in the outdoor habitat. He will be joined eventually by females Chewie and Mara.

Fact File

Species @ Risk Image
Species Survival Plan Image
where to see themWhere to see them: Gorilla World
heightHeight: 5 to 6 ft
weightWeight: Male - Up to 400 lbs, Female - Up to 200 lbs
life expectancyLife Expectancy: 31 yrs
habitatHabitat: Tropical forest
dietDiet: Fruits, leaves, and small invertebrates
exclamationRisk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Critically endangered)