Join our zoo community

Taronga Zoo Frala's Baby

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Zoofan15, 19 May 2015.

  1. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Frala the gorilla has given birth to her eighth offpsring, the second offspring of the new silverback, Kibale.

    It is now Frala's only offspring at the zoo after her sons, Fataki (2003) and Fuzu (2007) were exported to Orana Wildlife Park earlier this month.

    Fingers crossed for a girl!!!
     
  2. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Feb 2010
    Posts:
    2,746
    Location:
    Sydney
  3. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I think news of this magnitude deserves it own thread. A gorilla birth is really only second to the birth of an elephant in this region, or if Adelaide get lucky, a giant panda birth. It's nice to have threads for general zoo news, eg. tiger transfers, enclosure maintenance.
     
  4. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Interesting how the media are all referring to this baby as Frala's seventh offspring, have they forgotten the son she had before Shinda (1991)?

    Frala and the baby have since made a media and public appearance, but as yet no news on the gender. I'm optimistically guessing a female. The baby has quite feminine facial features. Taronga Zoo are lucky to have such a good mother in Frala. I hope Johari is taking notes.
     
  5. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,607
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    I imagine almost everything the media are reporting is information directly from the Zoo, so I guess its the Zoo that have "forgotten".
     
  6. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Feb 2010
    Posts:
    2,746
    Location:
    Sydney
    Fair enough. The only possible reason I can think of as to why Taronga neglected to mentioned Kukuma (her cartstrated son who died at Belfast in 2011) is because he never came to Taronga with the group, while Shinda did?
     
  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Good point, also Kukuma was hand raised so I suppose if Taronga said that Frala was 'rearing' her seventh offspring, they would be correct.

    The death of Frala's son in 1998 received much media coverage, whereas the stillbirth of her daughter in 1999 went unmentioned in the news, so maybe this is Taronga overlooking this death also?

    I have high hopes for Frala rearing this offspring well. She may have a different mothering style to Mouila, Kriba and their families but she is very supportive of her offspring in conflicts. There is a good video on Youtube of Kibabu having an altercation with Fataki, Frala rushes at Kibabu (teeth bared) and refuses to back down until the conflict fizzles out.

    It will be interersting to see how this birth will influence the hiearachy. Mbeli is currently the favourite of Kibale, but particuarly in the next few weeks, the more dominant Frala, will possibly take over the position of alpha female. Her daughter, Shinda, is the alpha female at the Prague Zoo, even though she is unlikely to have offspring.
     
  8. tdierikx

    tdierikx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    264
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Don't bet on Frala becoming number one female... lol! Not when Mbeli is currently doing this...

    [​IMG]

    or this...

    [​IMG]

    She's adamantly reminding Frala that she's still number one wife...

    [​IMG]

    But here's a photo I got of the newest edition last Tuesday after the media had left... just because... *grin*

    [​IMG]

    T.
     
  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Fantastic pictures Tdierikx, you should do this professionally (if you don't already).

    Yes, that certiantly is some dominant behaviour from Mbeli. She has clearly had the advantage of being in the new group first, being the first female to give birth (additional attention/protection from Kibale) and now her baby is mobile, she can put him down and engage in conflicts without fear of him getting injured. Perhaps Frala, is wary of provoking conflict when she has a newborn clinging to her, and she will become more assertive six months down the line, when she is physically able to?

    Do you know much about the hierachy of the previous group? I understand Mouila was the favourite of Kibabu, did that automatically make her the alpha female? Taronga said Kriba would sometimes assume the role of second in command to Kibabu (ie. when patrolling the exhibit etc.). Frala was obviosuly an outsider, but the presence of her adolescent son, Fataki, gave her the oppotunity to take a swipe at Mouila etc. I think Fataki got a bit too big for his boots towards the end.
     
  10. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Feb 2010
    Posts:
    2,746
    Location:
    Sydney
    The hierachy was more or less Mouila then Kriba then Frala, however, with the support of her sons Frala was more dominant in practise than she was in theory.
     
  11. tdierikx

    tdierikx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    264
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Thanks again for the compliments on my photos Zoofan15 - I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, just an enthusiastic zoo junkie who points her camera at anything even vaguely interesting and presses the magic clicky button... *grin*

    I'm thinking the heirarchy of the current group will sit with Mbeli first wife, Frala second wife, and Johari as the spare wheel/outsider - as far as Kibali is concerned. Frala has always shown some deference to Mbeli, right from the start, but now she has offspring in the group, she will have cemented her second place standing.

    Don't get Johari wrong though, she can more than stand up for herself when she feels the need... today she went for Mbeli who was trying to snaffle some of the food Johari had gathered for herself - Mbeli backed off pretty lively after a pitiful attempt to defend herself... lol! I've also seen Kibali with Johari teeth marks on his face before too. She's a bit of a quiet achiever methinks.

    I don't see Johari becoming a mum naturally in the near future, as she really doesn't fancy the attentions of Kibali at all. Maybe an AI could get her pregnant, but I'm not sure that Taronga are that desperate for more gorilla babies right now...

    T.
     
  12. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Feb 2010
    Posts:
    2,746
    Location:
    Sydney
    Yeah AI is not really considered viable in gorillas as both males and females must be placed under anaesthetic, and I believe (?) that it is also painful for males. Hopefully she does breed naturally some day........:)
     
  13. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2006
    Posts:
    16,559
    Location:
    england
    If that is the case now(as a product of her handraising presumably) its unlikely to change in the future. AI is still very difficult to get success with but you're probably right that Taronga may not particularly worry if they can't breed from her and will be happy with the babies they have. The only sad thing is Johari is (so far) the only offspring of Melbourne's wildcaught female Julia.*

    * Having just read of the loss of Julia on the Melbourne thread, it makes Johari's status slightly different of course- she now becomes the only offspring of a wildcaught deceased female...
     
    Last edited: 25 May 2015
  14. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Thanks for answering my question people, it's good to know Frala is no longer bottom of the hierachy like she has essentially been all her life. Jabiru96 raises a good point, of how, because she had sons, Frala became more dominant.

    With Frala's newborn now confirmed as a male, this is probably the best outcome for her (even if the breeding programme would have preferred a female). I'm confident she will be allowed/and will breed at least once more, as she is only 34 years old. Perhaps a son for support in the troop, followed by that all important daughter in 3 or 4 years time.

    Does status of the mother confer to offspring? Shinda (1991) is dominant to Kijivu (1993), even though Kriba was dominant to Frala in the hierachy.

    And yes, now with the loss of Julia, perhaps breeding Johari will become more of a priority.
     
  15. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Feb 2010
    Posts:
    2,746
    Location:
    Sydney
    When I visited yesterday Mbeli and Frala shared a special moment where Mbeli came up to Frala and started to sniff and groom the baby......and then tried to take the baby from her! Mbeli certainly has a strong maternal instinct! Funny to see Frala already carrying the baby on her back as well as the 'cradle in the arm' method. He sure is a strong boy!
     
  16. tdierikx

    tdierikx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    264
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Mbeli is exhibiting some "interesting" behaviours now that Frala has had the baby. Mbeli is not actually overly happy about it, and seems to be letting Frala know that she (Mbeli) is still number one wife, and Frala better not forget it.

    Another interesting thing that I saw last time I was there was that Johari isn't taking any crap from Mbeli either right now... Mbeli tried to snaffle some of Johari's food pile, and Johari got up and slapped Mbeli about for the intrusion... nice to see that Johari can and does stand up for herself when needed... *grin*

    T.
     
  17. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Haha just like her mother! How did Frala react to that?

    Interesting to hear that Frala is carrying the baby on her back already, perhaps that's why her daughter Anguka (Lisbon Zoo) is doing that with her newborn too?
     
  18. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,108
    Location:
    New Zealand
    It'll be interesting to see how things progress within the troop, and whether the hierachy will change between Mbeli and Frala, now they are both equal in terms of offspring. Frala is independent and tough; Mbeli was the daughter of the previous alpha female and is used to a high ranking posititon from birth.
     
  19. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Feb 2010
    Posts:
    2,746
    Location:
    Sydney
    Frala just kept nudging her away but Mbeli persisted with all her might! :D I also spoke to the volunteer who was recording Frala and he didn't have high hopes for Johari breeding with Kibali sadly (although he did say that he observed him grooming her the previous week).
     
  20. tdierikx

    tdierikx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    264
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Interesting re Kibali grooming Johari... usually she doesn't like him getting too close to her...

    T.