A critically endangered gorilla settles into his new home in the British capital after a first class flight from Tenerife.
Arriving well ahead of the pileup of Christmas deliveries, London Zoo had Kiburi shipped by DHL.
After a 1,903-mile door-to-door trip in a custom-built large crate – which included an onboard meal of leafy greens, leeks, a banana and cold fruit tea – the youngster 18-year-old spent the night at Heathrow before heading to the zoo.
The envious photogenic monkey, weighing 193kg and 5ft 4in tall, was welcomed into the Gorilla Kingdom exhibit after his medicals and will soon be introduced to his housemates.
Among them are the females Mjukuu and Effie, and the young Alika and Gernot.
Kiburi arrived as part of an international breeding program, so Guardians are hoping he could get Effie or Mjukuu under the mistletoe during the holiday season.
Gorilla keeper Glynn Hennessy said: “Like any blended family, it’s important to get to know each other slowly, so we’ll keep a close eye on the troop and introduce them to each other face-to-face at a pace they’re at. comfortable.”
It looks like Kiburi has lived his life in London to the fullest so far – he’s already tried out his new swings and enjoyed some delicious meals, including a breakfast of juicy red peppers.
And even though he likes to sleep in the morning, there’s still no sign of him going on strike.
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The teenager, who arrived from Loro Parque Zoo, has big bananas to fill as he follows in place of Kumbuka, the former male London gorilla who died in 2018.
Keepers have identified him as a worthy successor via the European Endangered Species Breeding Scheme, and he has already proven to be “a calm, friendly individual who is perfectly suited to the dynamics of our own gorilla family. “.
The program aims to protect and increase the global population of western lowland gorillas, which are vulnerable to poaching, disease, deforestation and climate change.
Although they are notoriously elusive, living in some of Africa’s densest and most remote rainforests, the WWF estimates their total population at 100,000.