Thursday, July 7, 2016
Toronto Zoo gorillas long on lifespan and artistic talent
Josephine was born in Gabon in 1971, which means she's 45. The zoo reports that in spite of being mistaken for a silverback due to her gray hair, Granny Jo is the least aggressive of her troop. Unable to produce enough milk, she had to have her children bottle-fed.
Charles, who also hails from West Africa, is a a gentle giant who is nevertheless prepared to give his life for the group should the need arise.
A year younger than Josephine, Charles has fathered 15 children. He also found time to express himself through abstract expressionist paintings. In 1995, his artistic fame spread worldwide and generated $40,000 to help finance a new habitat for his troop.
The Toronto Zoo is active in protecting habitat for the critically endangered Western Lowland Gorillas. To this end, it encourages cell phone recycling, since coltan mining is a major threat to gorilla habitat. As well as donating money to protect gorillas in their natural habitat, the zoo supports Mbeli Bai, a gorilla research program in the Congo.