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Australasian Western Lowland Gorilla Population

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Zoofan15, 8 Feb 2021.

  1. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Australasian Western Lowland Gorilla Population

    There are currently five holders of Western lowland gorilla in the region. Three facilities hold breeding troops; two hold bachelor troops. Sydney Zoo has expressed an interest in holding this species and may receive them in the future; and Adelaide Zoo include plans to exhibit them in their latest masterplan.

    Taronga Zoo:


    1.0 Kibali (25/03/2001) Yaounde x Moseka; Imported 2012
    0.1 Frala (14/06/1981) Bongo x Mintha; Imported 1996
    0.1 Johari (26/04/2000) Motoba x Julia
    0.1 Mbeli (05/02/2003) Kibabu x Mouila
    1.0 Mjukuu (30/10/2014) Kibali x Mbeli
    1.0 Fabumi (13/05/2015) Kibali x Frala
    1.0 Mwamba (02/09/2017 Kibali x Mbeli
    0.1 Fikiri (06/06/2019) Kibali x Frala

    Melbourne Zoo:

    1.0 Otana (28/01/2001) Kouillou x Tamba; Imported 2013
    0.1 Yuska (00/00/1971) Wild x Wild; Imported 1973
    0.1 Kimya (12/01/2005) Kibabu x Kriba
    0.1 Kanzi (14/03/2015) Otana x Kimya

    Werribee Open Range Zoo:

    1.0 Motaba (23/12/1983) Jambo x Nandi; Imported 1990
    1.0 Yakini (28/11/1999) Motoba x Yuska
    1.0 Ganyeka (29/04/2000) Motoba x G-Ann

    Mogo Zoo:

    1.0 Kisane (18/08/2006) Djanghou x Sanki; Imported 2019
    0.1 G-Ann (08/06/1979) Moemba x Fern; Imported 1997
    0.1 Kriba (09/08/1979) Bongo x Mouila; Imported 1996
    0.1 Kipenzi (14/01/2011) Kibabu x Kriba

    Orana Wildlife Park:

    1.0 Fataki (24/05/2003) Kibabu x Frala
    1.0 Fuzu (08/12/2007) Kibabu x Frala
    1.0 Mahali (18/08/2008) Kibabu x Mouila

    Total regional population: 12.10
     
  2. boof

    boof Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Melbourne's beautiful gorilla forest would look bare.
     
  3. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Considering Yuska is 50 this year, they need to be thinking about options for the troop long term. Bringing in new females from overseas would be their best option, given that all the viable females in the region are relatives of Kimya.

    The troop at Taronga are in an interesting position. They have three males born 2014-2017. In three years, they could form a bachelor troop (possibly joined by their father). If they waited five to six years, Fikiri would be an adolescent and an unrelated blackback could then be brought in.
     
  4. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Once Adelaide zoo obtain their Troop it should take the gorilla population up to another level breeding wise!
     
  5. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Werribee should invest in an alternative for M Motaba and allow both females to reproduce. That requires an import of an unrelated male gorilla.
     
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  6. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Is the ZAA gorilla program not essentially an outlier region for EAZA stock given that so many individuals got transferred to Oz?
     
  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is. Most of our exchanges have been with Europe:

    Imports:

    1.0 Kibale 2012
    1.0 Otana 2013
    1.0 Kisane 2019

    Exports:

    1.0 Buzandi 2001
    0.1 Bambuti 2001
    0.1 Shinda 2001
    0.1 Kijivu 2001
    0.1 Anguka 2007
    0.1 Safiri 2007

    In addition to these, our only exports in the last 20 years have two males to Japan in 2006.

    Interestingly, there hasn’t been a female import since 1997! Orana Wildlife Park were planning to import females from Europe, though I doubt this will happen until their bachelor troop leave.
     
  8. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Well-Known Member

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    Motaba is in a bachelor group with his two sons. There are no females at Werribee.
     
  9. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Well-Known Member

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    It seems this is the obvious, so there must be a reason why Melbourne haven't received more females. I would assume that the ZAA zoos are treated the same as any other EAZA member without any favouritism to European zoos so it it must be either due to unavailability (other zoos in more pressing needs) or a choice by Melbourne for management reasons. Usually when a new gorilla(s) is needed action takes place quickly for troop stability and I doubt Melbourne prefer to have such a small troop at present. So i'm guessing its something to do with the dynamics of the group. Otana has been a bit of a jerk.....
     
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  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    You could be right. Otana has a very low tolerance to females that display any social deficiency - Julia and G-Ann being examples. Some have suggested this was due to his age and inexperience as a troop leader; though I’m inclined to believe it was also his personality. Motoba (an equally young male) was easily integrated with the same females (plus Betsy) without issue during the 1990’s.

    Maybe we will see some action once Yuska passes (new females would be stressful for her). As long as they’re fully socialised females, I don’t foresee any reason Otana shouldn’t accept them.
     
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  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember offhand which male(Jambo or Mzuri/YK) was in charge at Jersey before GAnne and Julia moved to Australia but they weren't popular with him either, being misfits due to their desocialised backgrounds. Its not at all surprising to me that Otana behaved in similar fashion, whereas Motaba was already familiar with them from Jersey( if memory serves me correctly) and as you said, perhaps a more tolerant personality anyway. I'm sure Otana would accept other females if they were group-raised.
     
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  12. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Both! G-Ann and Julia were successfully introduced into Jambo’s troop, prior to his death in 1992. He accepted both of them and the troop got on well as a whole. They got on especially well with the two young females - Sakina (1986) and Hlala Kahili (1988); but had a few minor disputes with the older females during the introductory phase.

    They weren’t accepted by Jambo’s successor (Mzuri), who broke Julia’s leg in an attack. Due to his social upbringing, Mzuri lacked social skills and performed poorly as a silverback (only mating with one of the females).

    This article details Julia’s life, death and introduction to the troop at Jersey: In danger
     
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  13. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I remember better now. Jambo accepted them both, but I don't think he mated with them.

    So it was YK who broke Julia's leg- I think perhaps that was one reason for sending them away.

    IMO Jersey made a bad choice in accepting a handraised male(YK) as their new male, particularly given his youth, but in those days less was known about the longerterm effects of (early) handraising. So success was comprised on two fronts- age and background though I think background was the more important.
     
  14. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    I definitely agree with you re. Otana. He has a very ‘aggressive’ and a very ‘inquisitive’ side. I am told he is known for being Melbourne’s most intelligent gorilla; but he also has some issue with socialising with other gorillas. Otana is very protective as well, and he is especially of Kimya, and Kansai when she was a baby. Otana tolerates Yuska, though I did see him chasing her once after she tried to steal Kimya’s food. Luckily he was distracted by Kanzi, who likes to stick up for her grandma. :p

    I think it’s the fact that Otana is non-accepting of some individuals. Melbourne would have to do extensive research first if they did import some more females; as it would be a waste if they imported females, for Otana to not accept them into the troop. I will have to ask next time I visit.

    Kanzi is almost six, so it will be interesting to find out why Kimya hasn’t breed. It’s likely she has been placed on contraception; and with Melbourne’s low numbers, a baby gorilla would be nice.
     
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  15. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    In any other circumstance, I’d have thought the lack of breeding from Kimya is so a new male brought in; however there’s really no Plan B for Otana. He can’t assimilate into a bachelor troop with other males; he hasn’t got sons like Kibale, who he could transition into a bachelor group with; and for welfare reasons, he can’t live alone.

    It’d be disastrous for Melbourne’s PR if Otana killed another mate. They’d take no time in dredging up Julia’s death and spin sensationalised stories of a gorilla serial killer.

    Any new females would have to be fully socialised. Long term, Fikiri could be an option; as could keeping Kanzi in the group as a non breeding support to Kimya. She comes from a well represented line on both sides.
     
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  16. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    Otana will remain as their breeding male as far as I’m concerned. I think it’s just the fact that Kimya hasn’t been given the recommendation to breed, considering her genetics are well represented already. It hasn’t been experimented with yet, so he could get along with some socially acceptable males.

    WORZ won’t be an option; their group works fine but the social structure is rather messed up. Maybe the aim will be to just wait until Otana has two sons and then move them on to Werribee in the future. Motoba will be almost 50, and most likely deceased by then; one of Ganyeka or Yakini could be sent to Melbourne as the new breeding male and the other could be sent elsewhere to breed.

    I doubt Otana will kill again if the right females are chosen. Matching personalities is the way to go. Even though, Kimya was originally paired with Kibale successfully at Taronga, their personalities didn’t link up and they thought she had a better chance at Melbourne with Otana, who was on his way.

    Taronga’s enclosure is smaller than Melbourne’s, so I find it weird that their troop is double the size of Melbourne’s. I always wondered why Frala wasn’t sent to Melbourne in replacement for Mbeli and Johari; Frala, who would now be post breeding could be sent with Fikiri to Melbourne in the future, to level out troop numbers, and give Fikiri the chance to breed.
     
  17. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Well-Known Member

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    I think Melbourne made a huge error in spending big tranforming their old great ape grottoes into lemur exhibits. They could have easily been joined and landscaped to create a second gorilla exhibit very comparable to Tarongas.

    If this had happened, countless options would have been available to shuffle the gorillas and perhaps even form a second breeding troop. Melbourne was once famous for its gorillas. Its a shame they’ve missed the opportunity to further invest in this...
     
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  18. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I agree they could of done better perhaps this still could be done
     
    Last edited: 11 Feb 2021
  19. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I think the simple way to ensure that is, if any females are ever added, simply to give him young, mother-raised ones. I think in Julia's case it was frustration with her behaviour that elicited his aggressive responses, nothing more than that.
     
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  20. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    Julia was purely interested in baby Kanzi; keep in mind, Melbourne hadn’t had a baby gorilla in 15 years. Otana is a very protective individual, and he was frustrated by Julia ignoring his warnings and getting to close to Kimya and baby Kanzi.
     
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