From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Scott Terrell
Today is World Gorilla Day, and in celebration, we’d like to give you a glimpse at the western lowland gorillas in our care.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the gorilla family troop grew by one in May when we welcomed the arrival of baby Grace. Born as part of the Species Survival Plan, which ensures the responsible breeding of endangered species, Grace’s name was chosen to honor the conversation work done by GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’ll get to more on that in a moment.
Baby Grace is growing bigger every day, and her family has been eagerly showing her the ropes. Her older brothers, Cory and Flint, love to give her piggyback rides under mom Kashata’s watchful eye. Many of Grace’s teeth have grown in, and she’s using them to test new foods.
Western lowland gorillas are a critically endangered species due to habitat loss and poaching. Conservation of gorillas is more important than ever and seeing Grace grow offers hope for future generations.
Disney is proud to partner with organizations striving to protect gorillas in the wild through our work with the Disney Conservation Fund. For more than a decade, Disney’s animal care team has shared their skills and expertise with GRACE, the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned Grauer’s gorillas. This work has resulted in Disney sending veterinarians, keepers and educators to the Congo to establish facilities and assist with gorilla care. Innovative solutions have come to light through this collaboration. For example, Disney vets and animal nutritionists developed a biscuit recipe for GRACE to help the gorillas get nutrients without getting teeth decay. Disney’s animal care team made the biscuits at Disney’s Animal Kingdom first and offered them to the gorillas at the park. These first taste testers helped ensure they developed something the gorillas at GRACE would enjoy.
Gorillas are certainly majestic primates and I encourage you to learn more about them and ways to help protect them. Of course, you can visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom and see if you can spot Grace and her family in action at Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Any of our cast members on the trail would love to tell you more about our troops. You can also visit DisneyAnimals.com to learn more about this amazing species.