Gorilla Kingdom

Banner for Gorilla kingdom at ZSL London Zoo

Our Gorilla Kingdom brings the African rainforest to the heart of London. You’ll be able to meet Africa’s most exciting residents, featuring our colony of western lowland gorillas. With breathtakingly close views, this is one encounter you’ll be sure to remember.

Mjukuu - Gorilla

When you step into this atmospheric exhibit, you’ll first be able to explore our African aviary before moving on into our Gorilla Kingdom. This natural and engaging environment is home to our gorillas, featuring a stunning clearing, their own personal island, and an indoor gymnasium.

Our colony of gorillas is led by our impressive male silverback – Kumbuka. In 2014, Kumbuka parented his first offspring with mate Mjukuu. This new arrival is a baby girl named Alika, meaning ‘most beautiful’ and she joins the other females of the troop – Effie and Zaire. Large viewing areas and an engaging habitat means you’ll have the very best vantage point for seeing this special family.

Want to monkey around some more? Venture further into this exhibit and discover more primates, including our families of white-naped mangabeys and white colobus monkeys. There are loads for you to encounter and share in this truly wild exhibit!

Zaire the Gorilla at ZSL London Zoo

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There are more than just Gorillas in Gorilla Kingdom - find out who else inhabits this exhibit:


Gorilla climbing at ZSL London Zoo

Watch as Kumbuka, Effie, Majukuu and even baby Alika get to grips with their new treehouse.


Find out how our adorable little baby western lowland gorilla Alika is getting on.

Baby western lowland gorilla

Here is the first footage of the adorable baby gorilla born at ZSL London Zoo!

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 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, 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 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

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.


Baby gorilla Alika

Alika – meaning most beautiful – was born at the zoo on December 10th 2014. She is cared for by her mother Mjukuu, a 15-year-old gorilla who caught the eye of father Kumbuka on his arrival in 2013.


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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.

On 10th December 2014, ZSL London Zoo was delighted to welcome baby Alika into the gorilla family.

Alika – meaning most beautiful – was born at the zoo following an eight and half month gestation period. She is cared for by her mother Mjukuu, a 15-year-old gorilla who caught father Kumbuka’s eye on his arrival in 2013.

Alika the gorilla baby

Our new baby girl is the first offspring to the Zoo’s silverback male Kumbuka, who arrived at the zoo in 2013 from Paignton Zoo. Kumbuka likes to take a backseat approach to parenting and leaves most of the care up to his mate Mjukuu.

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