London Zoo welcomes new gorilla Kiburi just in time for Christmas |  British news

London Zoo welcomes new gorilla Kiburi just in time for Christmas | British news

A critically endangered gorilla settles into his new home in the British capital after a first-class flight from Tenerife.

London Zoo came in nice and early for the Christmas delivery pile and had Kiburi shipped by DHL.

After a 3,000-mile door-to-door journey in a large, custom-built coffin – including an onboard meal of leafy greens, leeks, a banana and cold fruit tea – the 18-year-old stayed overnight at Heathrow before departing for the zoo .

Kiburi already has many beautiful photos to choose from for his Facebook profile.  Photo: ZSL London Zoo
Image:
Kiburi already has many beautiful photos to choose from for his Facebook profile. Photo: ZSL London Zoo

The enviously photogenic ape, weighing 193 kg and 1.75 meters tall, was welcomed to the Gorilla Kingdom exhibit after his medical checkup and will soon be introduced to his housemates.

Among them are females Mjukuu and Effie, and juveniles Alika and Gernot.

Kiburi has arrived as part of an international breeding program, so keepers hope he can get Effie or Mjukuu under the mistletoe during the holiday season.

Gorilla keeper Glynn Hennessy said: “As with any blended family, it’s important to take things slowly when you get to know each other, so we’ll be watching the pack closely and introducing them face-to-face at a pace that they feel comfortable with.”

It sounds like Kiburi has lived his London life to the fullest so far – he’s already tried out his new rope swings and enjoyed some tasty meals, including a breakfast of juicy red peppers.

And while he likes to sleep in in the morning, there’s no sign yet that he’s going on strike.

Read more:
The world’s oldest gorilla dies at age 61

The gorilla was shipped with DHL.  Photo: ZSL London Zoo
Image:
The gorilla was shipped with DHL. Photo: ZSL London Zoo
Kiburi's bench offered a surprising amount of legroom.  Photo: ZSL London Zoo
Image:
Kiburi’s box offered a surprising amount of legroom. Photo: ZSL London Zoo

The teen, who arrived from Zoo Loro Parque, has some big bananas to fill as he follows in place of Kumbuka, London’s previous male gorilla who died in 2018.

Keepers identified him as a worthy successor through the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, and he has already proven himself to be a “calm, friendly person and fit well into the dynamics of our own gorilla family”.

The program aims to protect and grow the global population of western lowland gorillas, which are vulnerable to poaching, disease, deforestation and climate change.

Although they are notoriously elusive and live in some of Africa’s densest and most remote rainforests, the WWF estimates their total population at 100,000.

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