Joy As Critically Endangered Gorillas Celebrate Their Birthdays
A zoo in Spain is rejoicing as two of its critically endangered gorillas celebrate their birthdays.
The BIOPARC Valencia, which is located in the south-eastern Spanish city of Valencia, in the autonomous region of Valencia, said in a statement that Jitu, a male silverback gorilla turned 38 last Friday (15th October) and that Fossey, a female, turned 22 on Saturday (16th October).
The zoo said that the gorillas are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species which is why the “birthdays of two of the gorillas that BIOPARC Valencia houses are a reason for joy”.
The zoo said: “Jitu is one of the most admired animals in the park, a majestic western coastal gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) that is celebrating its 38th anniversary today. The entire technical team has always paid special attention to his health, as Jitu was operated on for a testicular tumor in 2008, so maintaining his strength is essential.”
The zoo also said that Fossey “moved to Valencia together with the male Mambie in 2007. For the first time our city had the honour of hosting a gorilla breeding group and thus becoming part of the international programme for its ex situ conservation.
“Fossey gave birth to Pepe in 2018, one of the four gorillas that have been born at BIOPARC. Contemplating this family today, with the games and interactions of all of them, represents the hope of contributing to the recovery of this emblematic species.”
The zoo explained that gorillas are “one of the five species of ‘great apes’ that exist, including humans, along with orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos. They are our closest living ‘relatives’ and we are bringing them to the brink of extinction. Therefore, all coordinated conservation actions are key to saving them.”
Gorillas and humans have approximately 95 to 99 percent of their DNA in common.
The zoo also said that it was equally important to protect the gorillas’ original habitats, given the example of the Ebo project in Cameroon. The zoo said: “The Ebo forest symbolises the fight for the preservation of nature in the face of devastating human activity.
“This ecosystem is a treasure for its biodiversity and last year it was in serious danger due to the interests of the timber industry. An important international mobilisation managed to stop the project and today the fight to turn the Ebo forest into a sanctuary for gorillas is more alive than ever.”