Columbus Zoo welcomes baby gorilla into surrogacy program

Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has welcomed a new baby gorilla into its long-standing surrogacy program.

Zahra was born on September 9, 2017 at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

She was transferred to the Columbus Zoo after her mother and father passed away in April.

The Milwaukee County Zoo was recommended to place Zahra at another zoo with a stable family unit consisting of a female gorilla to act as a surrogate mother, a tolerant silverback male, and other females with offspring of varying ages.

“This is really the best option for Zahra, and we’re excited to see her start a new chapter in her life, and set her up as best we can so she continues to develop into a fully functioning adult gorilla,” said Milwaukee County Zoo Director Chuck Wikenhauser. “The Columbus Zoo has an excellent reputation for surrogate-raising gorillas, and will serve as the best, supportive home for Zahra’s growth, development and long-term care.”

The Columbus Zoo said Zahra will be under 24/7 care by the staff until introductions with a potential surrogate mother begin.