Which species do zoo gorillas belong to?

Almost all gorillas in zoos today are western gorillas. Most of their ancestors came from the rainforests in Cameroon, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Until the 1970s, many thousands of gorillas died in attempts to capture young animals for zoos.

How long have gorillas been bred in zoos? How many gorillas are still kept in zoos?

The first gorilla was born in captivity in Columbus, Ohio, USA on 22 December 1956. However, the baby was raised by humans, not by its mother. In zoos, gorillas frequently reject their young: they do not let them nurse and may even mistreat them. In these cases, the infants are bottle-fed. Most gorillas living in zoos today have been born in captivity. This was different in 1976, when the gorilla was included in Appendix I of CITES: at that time, 403 out of 498 gorillas in captivity came from the wild (81%). At the end of 1991, 692 gorillas lived in zoos, 371 of which had been born in captivity. Towards the end of 2012, 856 gorillas living in zoos were registered in the International Gorilla Studbook; more than 700 of them had been born in captivity. 

How species-appropriate is the keeping of gorillas in zoos?

The way gorillas are kept in zoos has much improved over the last few decades. Observations of wild gorillas have made a significant contribution to these improvements. Whereas the gorilla social structure can be emulated well in zoos, it is almost impossible to produce living conditions that resemble those in their natural habitat. Even so, when designing their enclosures, their needs can be taken into consideration. Many zoos have now acknowledged this. From the perspective of species conservation, keeping gorillas in captivity is only justified if they are given the best possible living conditions.

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[Translate to Englisch:] Colo

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[Translate to EN:] Ndeze und Ndakasi im Senkwekwe-Zentrum

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