For Immediate Release

GRANBY, February 24, 2020 — Last week, the Zoo de Granby welcomed two Western Lowland male gorillas, arriving from the Philadelphia Zoo: 20-year-old Louis and 17-year-old Kuchimba. An impressive team including a veterinarian, a conservation manager and several animal care technicians of the Philadelphia Zoo accompanied the primates to their new home. They were able to facilitate the transition and also help Zoo de Granby technicians by providing precious information about Louis and Kuchimba’s habits and behaviours. Carl Rivard, the technician assigned to the Zoo de Granby’s gorilla sector, spent a couple of days at the Philadelphia Zoo, to observe the primates and exchange with the people in charge of their care, before the animals’ departure.


Western Lowland gorillas are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) spearheaded by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Population management for these animals is strictly supervised in accredited zoos to preserve the species because of their precarious status in the wild. The Zoo de Granby collaborates with this program by sheltering male gorillas that could eventually be designated as breeders.

Gorillas are primates with important social needs. In their natural environment, we find harems with only one male, a few females and their offspring. When young males reach their sexual maturity, they’re rejected by these groups. They prefer interacting with their same-sex congeners rather than to remain alone. This is also true in zoological settings.

For now, the new gorillas aren’t visible to the public. They must first be kept in quarantine. During this period, they’ll remain isolated from the rest of the group and under observation by the Zoo’s animal care staff. Later, their integration process will gradually be carried out, and all the noted observations will allow the personnel to better understand these newcomers’ behaviours.

“Several of the two new males’ personality traits appear to be similar to those of our own gorillas; therefore, we’re quite confident that the group will get along well.” says Karl Fournier, the Zoo de Granby’s Director of animal Care. If all goes well, visitors will be able to see the new gorillas as early as this spring. Meanwhile, the public can admire Jawara and Zwalani at the Afrika Pavilion, in their new, completely refurbished habitat.


Kuchimba, the one with a smaller build, is calm but very playful. He really likes to attract the attention of Louis and bring him to play. When the ground is wet, he prefers using the elevated structures to move about. Despite his smaller size, he’s quite strong!
Louis impresses through his stature and his quick wit. In Philadelphia, he was considered a true star of the Web and many YouTube videos testify to this: When he’s carrying food or to avoid dirtying his hands, he’ll stand and walk upright over long distances.


Since 2015, the Zoo de Granby has been collaborating with the personnel of the Campo Ma’an National Park in Southern Cameroon with its ecological monitoring of gorillas. This project, managed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), requires the participation of local trackers, some of whom are converted ex-poachers. Among the species at risk in the park, we find gorillas, chimpanzees, and mandrills. Approximately 700 Western Lowland gorillas have been inventoried here. The Zoo de Granby also collaborates with the fight against poaching. The Zoo de Granby provides equipment to help the park’s eco-guards to carry out their tasks (compasses, GPS devices, flashlights, satellite communications devices, cameras, tents, clothing, etc.). The Zoo also financed construction of a laboratory for the analysis of zoonoses (diseases transmitted from animals to humans). The Zoo de Granby sent one of its animal care technicians to the park for a second four-month stay during the summer of 2019, in order to help the teams onsite.

The Zoo’s project in Cameroon will continue in 2020 with the help of the Foundation’s $50,000 contribution of which $10,000 will go directly to protecting the park’s gorillas.

It is still possible for you to contribute to the project.


The Zoo de Granby is a non-profit organization, founded in 1953. Its mission is to offer an enriching, entertaining and educational experience aimed at creating animal conservation awareness for a diverse clientele of all ages. It employs approximately 800 people. The Zoo de Granby’s direct and indirect economic benefits in the region are evaluated at more than 50 M$ annually, an increase of more than 75% since 2004.


For information:
Hélène Bienvenue
Communications and Marketing Advisor
450 372-9113 ext. 2195
Cell: (450) 775-8617
[email protected]