Brookfield Zoo trades male gorillas with St. Louis Zoo, welcomes Jontu to Chicago

Brookfield Zoo Jontu
Jontu. Photo credit Brookfield Zoo

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Brookfield Zoo announced that it has welcomed a new western lowland gorilla into its care.

Jontu, a 26-year-old gorilla from the St. Louis Zoo, has been getting acclimated to his new surroundings, the zoo’s current all-female gorilla family, and his new animal care specialists.

As Jontu arrived, the zoo bid farewell to Zachary, a 7-year-old western lowland gorilla, who will have a new home at the St. Louis Zoo.

“There comes a time in a male gorilla’s life when it’s time for him to leave his natal group,” zoo officials wrote in a press release. “In some instances, adolescent male gorillas … may be solitary before seeking out females to form their own families. In other circumstances … males form bachelor groups.”

Officials said the latter was the case for Zachary, whose new group at the St. Louis Zoo features two adult, male gorillas.

“Since Zachary is unable to mate with any females at Brookfield, now is the right time to make this transition,” said Tim Snyder, vice president of animal care. “Plus, Zachary, who is the grandnephew of Bakari, has a great opportunity to interact and learn important skills that are needed to become a successful leader from the silverbacks.”

As Jontu makes himself at home at the Brookfield Zoo, officials said there may be times when the African section is closed to guests.

Western lowland gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo