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.
The plan to expand Gorilla World has been in the queue for many years. Fundraising for the project started in 2015, and we had enough funds to start renovations in the fall of 2016. The first phase of the expansion includes modifications to the outdoor space to make room for the new building.
What’s new outside? The outside modifications were made primarily to make room for the new indoor facility. There is more usable land space on one side of the resurfaced habitat, a more energy-efficient stream and waterfall, random rolling hills, new landscaping, and an improved space for colobus monkeys.
What’s new behind the scenes? The expansion includes larger, modernized living areas for the gorillas.
When will phase two be ready? The new indoor facility is ready now! This part of the Gorilla World expansion will provide natural light and additional spaces for gorillas to explore and allow visitors to see gorillas in the colder months.
The characteristics we share with other primates are amazing and entreat us to appreciate and conserve these wonderful creatures. Gorilla World invites visitors to explore the world of the endangered gorilla, one of our closest relatives, and asks them to consider how their actions impact the survival of this great primate.
Built in 1978, Gorilla World was one of the first large naturalistic primate exhibits in the world. Upon entering the outdoor exhibit space, the visitor is immersed in a simulated African jungle. Several open viewing areas provide the chance to see many individuals of the Zoo’s large troop from various angles. Other African primates reside in nearby exhibits.
At the Gorilla Wild Research Station, visitors become investigators, asking questions such as do gorillas have friends and where do they like to hang out. They can also take a personality quiz to find out which gorilla they are most like, and try out their gorilla communication skills. Wild Research is a partnership between Miami University’s Project Dragonfly and the Zoo funded by the National Science Foundation.
Elle was the 50th gorilla born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden since 1970. She’s adventurous and likes to play with other youngsters.
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. She’s a young, lanky gorilla who can be found hanging out with her mom & playing with the other youngsters.
Gladys was raised by surrogate humans and later introduced to surrogate gorilla moms M’Linzi and Mara. She’s a young gorilla with shaggy hair and a round body shape. She’s very playful & likes to carry younger gorillas around.
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. He uses entire yard and climbs tree & likes to sit in alcove near the waterfall.
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)
Mother of Mara and surrogate mother to Gladys. She has lots of gray hair and a low brow which makes it look like she’s frowning. She often sits in a tree adn holds her hand to her head.
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.
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.
Chewie is an active gorilla who travels around the yard a lot. She has lots of rings and wrinkles around her eyes and nose and lots of black hair.
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.