Kindi continues to be mentored by our Gorilla Care Staff as she continues to explore areas, sounds, sights and smells throughout Gorilla Forest. With Kindi’s new digs and the introduction to her new family looming, she is spending lots of time during the day interacting with her proposed gorilla family group through the mesh in her new room. The Louisville Zoo houses three groups of gorillas – a bachelor group of young males, a group of females affectionately referred to by staff as “the old ladies,” and a family group including Kindi’s father, Mshindi. This last group is Kindi’s proposed family.
Mshindi is already showing paternal signs to Kindi appropriate for a silverback gorilla. He is protective, visits her through the mesh and keeps a sharp watch over her. Mshindi was born at St. Louis Zoo in 1987 and arrived in Louisville in 2005. He is easily recognizable as the largest gorilla in his group, and has no trouble reminding everyone who the boss is. Kindi is Mshindi’s second offspring.
Kindi’s potential surrogate mother Paki was born at Bronx Zoo in 1989 and arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2004. She has a son, Pendeka, who is now 18 years old and lives at the Detroit Zoo. She has shown maternal interest in Kindi since the infant gorilla’s introduction into Gorilla Forest. Some maternal behaviors she has been displaying include reacting to Kindi when she vocalizes and needs reassurance, reaching out and touching Kindi, allowing Kindi to suck on her fingers, and making reassuring purring sounds. Kindi also interacts with Paki through the exhibit mesh. Paki and Mshindi also have a very strong bond.
Kweli is Kindi’s alternate surrogate. Kweli was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1983 and arrived in Louisville in April of 2008. She is mother to Kicho who resides in the bachelor group and also has offspring at Pittsburgh Zoo and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. She is an excellent mother and has been a surrogate before. Kweli has also shown maternal interest in Kindi and visits with her occasionally.
All of the members of Kindi’s potential family group were also part of Mia Moja’s (Kindi’s mother) group. We believe Kindi will be ready for to meet her surrogate gorilla mom by mid-August, though no specific date has been set. Kindi will let us know through her behavior when she is ready.
Once the reintroduction process starts, Kindi will have to go off-exhibit for as long as it takes to bond with her family members. This will be a multi-step process.
Check back in two weeks for the next issue to learn more about the plans for Kindi’s introduction.