Gorilla Kingdom

Banner for Gorilla kingdom at ZSL London Zoo

Gorilla Kingdom brings the African rainforest to the heart of London. Visitors can get breathtakingly close to our colony of western lowland gorillas in a natural and engaging environment.

Walking into this beautiful and atmospheric exhibit you will begin to catch glimpses from the forested pathway into the scenic clearing. Entering the African aviary you will witness some of the beautiful birds that share the Western Lowland Gorillas environment as they fly around you.

Mjukuu the gorilla at ZSL London Zoo.

If you’re feeling adventurous take the gorilla tracking trail and wind your way around the African forest environment. Learn about gorillas and the forests they inhabit with interactive activities and exhibits and visit the ZSL field station to learn about the important and fascinating work ZSL is undertaking out in the field.

Venturing further into Gorilla Kingdom you will come across a stunning clearing, surrounded by water and picturesque foliage. Here you will see our majestic Western Lowland Gorillas and black and white colubus monkeys living together.

Beautiful dappled light will guide the way into the Gorillas indoor space. Exploring this exhibit further you will have the opportunity to get up close to the large gorillas as they move around their home. Within this area you will also have the opportunity to see our monitor lizard and white-naped mangabeys, plus other animals from Africa.

Zaire the Gorilla at ZSL London Zoo

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Videos

Kumbuka the gorilla at ZSL London Zoo

Meet the new King of Gorilla Kingdom.

Kumbuka celebrates his birthday at ZSL London Zoo 2013

Kumbuka celebrates his 16th birthday with a party in Gorilla Kingdom.

Kumbuka the silverback gorilla at ZSL London Zoo

Expert keeper Teague answers your questions about Kumbuka and the other gorillas in Gorilla Kingdom.

Mjukuu the gorilla at ZSL London Zoo.
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Meet some of the Gorillas who live at ZSL London Zoo...

 

Zaire the Gorilla at ZSL London Zoo
Zaire

Zaire was born in Jersey Zoo, and came to ZSL London Zoo in 1984. She is a playful and mischievous character who is known for sometimes doing precisely the opposite of what the keepers want.

 

Mjukuu the gorilla at ZSL London Zoo.
Mjukuu

Mjukuu, or ‘Jookie’ as she’s nicknamed, joined ZSL London Zoo’s Gorilla Kingdom from a group of eleven gorillas at another zoo.

ZSL London Zoo's youngest gorilla is 5ft tall and weighs around 65 kilos.

 

Effie the Gorilla at ZSL London Zoo
Effie

Effie is the "teenager" of the group. She is well-known in the Zoo for her huge appetite and will happily steal the other gorillas' food if no one is looking.

 

 

Kumbuka the gorilla at ZSL London Zoo
Kumbuka

Silverback Kumbuka is a male 16-year-old western lowland gorilla. He arrived at ZSL London Zoo from Paignton Zoo in Devon in early 2013, and despite never having had a female mate before,was quickly spotted flirting with females Mjukuu and Effie.

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Western lowland gorillas, found only in central Africa, are now classified as Critically Endangered with their populations being decimated by habitat loss, disease and hunting.

A Gorilla in it's native habitat in the DRC.

As human populations grow and rainforests shrink, conservation becomes a complicated balancing act. For hundreds of thousands of years, the forest has supplied the needs – including food and medicine – of the people who live there.

Local people rely on the animals of the forest for meat and hunt a variety of species known collectively as bushmeat. Without bushmeat, their diet would be short of protein. Eating bushmeat is just like eating wild salmon or wild rabbit – it’s just that the animals are different.

In recent years, bushmeat hunting has seen a commercial increase that has reached an unsustainable level. More efficient hunting techniques combined with improved access to forest areas via roads built for the logging and mining industry means many species can’t reproduce fast enough to recover from what is now increasingly commercial hunting. Although not all local people eat gorilla meat, many have a high regard for it which means the trade in gorillas is a major threat to their survival – their meat has even been found in markets here in London as part of the burgeoning international bushmeat trade.

Bushmeat is a complex topic. While it is illegal to hunt endangered species and to hunt in protected areas, the lack of capacity to enforce these laws often means that even where the forests themselves are being protected, they are being emptied of their animals. There are also ethical questions to reconcile when working in this environment. Is it right to stop people driven by poverty and hunger from hunting to feed their families?

ZSL researchers are trying to understand the problem by exploring the scale and sustainability of the bushmeat trade and the dependency of people on bushmeat for both food and income, in order to find solutions that work for both people and wildlife.

A wild gorilla ZSL
ZSL's Africa Conservation Programme has a number of field projects including one in the heart of central Africa, at Mikongo Conservation Centre in Gabon, which has part of its focus on the western lowland gorilla. ZSL has worked with local people there to try and develop low impact tourism based on viewing of forest wildlife, the idea being to provide a sustainable source of income for both park management and local community development. The project also monitors the health of the wild gorillas as well as the local people, tourists and project staff who may come into contact with the gorillas, in order to minimise the risks of transmission of disease. Behind bushmeat hunting, disease - in particular lethal Ebola epidemics - is the biggest threat to the survival of western lowland gorillas in the wild.

A second project in the Africa Conservation Programme is working with the Congolese park authorities in Virunga National Park, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, to support the conservation of its wildlife, which includes the rare mountain gorilla in the south of the park and a population of eastern lowland gorillas in the north.

We are delighted to announce the birth of a critically-endangered Western lowland gorilla at ZSL London Zoo.

Following an eight and a half month gestation period, 15-year-old mum Mjukuu gave birth to the baby overnight, with keepers discovering the infant early this morning (Wednesday 10 December).

Baby gorilla suckling on mother
Gorilla keeper Daniel Simmonds said: “We are thrilled with the birth of a baby gorilla here at ZSL London Zoo and mum and infant are both doing really well.

“Mjukuu gave birth overnight, surrounded by the rest of the troop – who all seem very pleased, and quite intrigued, by the new arrival.

“Western-lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild, so this infant is a really important addition not only to the Zoo, but for the European conservation breeding programme.”

Baby gorilla curled up in mother's arms.

The infant is the first offspring of the Zoo's silverback male Kumbuka, who arrived in May 2013 from Paignton Zoo.

Kumbuka quickly settled in to life at London, and took his role as group leader in his stride.

Female Mjukuu soon won the attention of the strapping silverback, and keepers were delighted when she fell pregnant less than a year after he arrived.

Keepers will leave the infant in the capable hands of mother Mjukuu allowing her to bond with her new baby, and allow the rest of the troop to get to know the new arrival. 

Please note: The indoor section of Gorilla Kingdom will be closed for a few days.

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ZSL is delighted to announce the birth of a critically-endangered Western lowland gorilla at ZSL London Zoo.