This critically endangered silverback gorilla, who was once believed to be infertile, has celebrated his 31st birthday and is now the proud dad of numerous offspring.
Mambie has just turned 31, and after vets diagnosed him as practically sterile, the decision was taken to “give him time”. The decision, the zoo said, “proved very successful”, as he is now the proud dad of Ebo, Virunga, Pepe and Felix.
The zoo also said that he is very protective of females Fossey, Ali and Nalani. Footage provided to Newsflash by the zoo shows the silverbacks in their enclosure, with the young play-fighting under the watchful gaze of their mothers.
The dominant male and patriarch, Mambie, can be seen standing guard and watching over his family.
The younger gorillas can be seen playing with other primate species in the lush, green environment, which, while it may appear prison-like to some, is, in fact, a key breeding facility geared towards avoiding that the majestic species goes extinct, as its natural habitat in Africa is increasingly encroached upon by humans.
Newsflash obtained images and a statement from the Bioparc Valencia zoo, which is located in Valencia, the capital of the Autonomous Community of Valencia, in eastern Spain.
The zoo said: “The reproductive male of the group of gorillas overcame the signs of infertility and exercises his protective role with the females and their offspring.”
The zoo added that gorillas are one of the species that “best represent today the struggle for survival against the destruction of their habitat”, in Africa.
The zoo said: “It is necessary to say it clearly, because their extinction depends on human action.”
It added: “In other words, only people can prevent it, so we have a duty to guarantee their survival.”
The zoo, speaking about Mambie, said that the silverback, who turned 31 on Friday, 25th March, arrived at the zoo to produce offspring with female gorillas.
But there were hiccups along the way, with the zoo saying that “his vital task did not bear fruit at first”.
They said that veterinary tests “diagnosed him as practically sterile”, but they decided to “give him time” and this, in turn, “proved very successful”.
The zoo said the “gorilla family” was part of an “important conservation programme for this critically endangered species coordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria”.
Silverback gorillas are listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. There are two subspecies of silverback, the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei). Both are listed as critically endangered.
The zoo said that one of the lines of action to protect not only this species, but nature in a broad sense, is “quality animal parks”.
It added that under the “demanding leadership of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), more than 400 parks, including the Bioparcs of Fuengirola and Valencia, aim at environmental education, conservation and scientific research”.
It added that communicating this to the public is helped by the fact that EAZA zoos welcome over 140 million visitors every year.
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