It's a boy! The newest member of the Myombe Reserve gorilla habitat at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a male western lowland gorilla, which are endangered.
His name is Oliver and he was born August 18 to his 28-year-old mother, Mary, who came to Busch Gardens in February 2010, and father, 10-year-old Bolingo, who was born at Busch Gardens in 2005. Just a little more than a month of tender care by his mom and the staff at Busch Gardens, Oliver is ready to make his debut.
Oliver's arrival brings the family of gorillas at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to seven.
Oliver's birth is part of Busch Gardens' participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan, which aims to create genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations to guarantee the long-term future of animals like the western lowland gorilla.
Western lowland gorillas are found in the tropical forests of West Africa, but poaching and disease-induced habitat destruction have landed the species on the critically endangered list.