Wild Encounters: Gorilla update

Wild Encounters

(WJBF) – It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on the gorillas down at Riverbanks Zoo.

“Alright, we’re here with Ryan and we’re doing a check up on our gorilla troop. Ryan, tell us a little bit about how the troop is doing.”

Ryan Jones / Supervisor. Small Mammals and Gorillas: “The troop is doing great. With the zoo reopening as COVID stuff started to die down, they’ve really enjoyed having a lot of guests back. The kids are at an age now…they’re both about three years old. So, at three they are really interacting with guests through the glass, which is something that’s just been fantastic and unexpected and makes the guests experience that much better.”

“What’s been your time like bonding with this troop as far as with you and the keepers?”

Ryan: “Bonding is always easy. We spend a lot of time with our gorilla troop. We have two separate training sessions with the family troop every single day, no matter what, in the morning and at the end of the day. We also do a midday food toss. So, we get a lot of face to face time with them. We do a lot of training and a lot of bonding comes out of that, so the gorillas really enjoy that aspect. With our male, Patrick, we do three or four training sessions every single day because of how well he bonds with his keeper staff and if he’s not getting enough attention, he’ll kind of throw a little bit of a temper tantrum. So, you know when it’s time to spoil Patrick. The majority of our day, even though we have a small mammal section in our area, is spent really just bonding and training and spending all this time with our gorillas.”

“And my last question, and we already talked about what the kids are doing, I’m seeing my guy here behind me, how do the adults spend their day?”

Ryan: “The adults spend their day eating and sleeping.”

“The dream.”

Ryan: “It is the dream. Right behind me, we have Patrick back there on habitat today. Patrick’s two loves in life are eating and sleeping. Gorillas are going to spend the majority of the day sleeping and they eat tons and tons of food. Their entire habitat is all greenery that is edible for them to eat, if they like, and some days they eat a lot. Some days they don’t. We do offer them a ton of lettuce, kale, spinach, celery, every day. So, we really fill them up. So, they just love to gorge and kind of relax.”

We had so much gorilla info that we had to make a bonus feature about Patrick and his people watching. Here’s Ashlyn Williams with more.

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