A baby gorilla, Colo, was born on December 22, 1956, at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. Colo became the first-ever gorilla to be born in captivity.
Colo, born by two gorillas capture in French Cameroun, weighed roughly 4 pounds, and its name was coined from the combination of Columbus and Ohio. Millie and Mac, the parents of Colo were brought to the Columbus Zoo in 1951.
The nature of gorillas and their captures are often wild. It requires dire efforts to capture a gorilla from the wild; they were caught “often by brutal means.” In order to capture a baby gorilla, hunters usually had to exit the parents of the baby gorilla from living, including other relatives. This was to ensure safety for the hunters.
“Gorillas are peaceful, intelligent animals, native to Africa, who live in small groups led by one adult male, known as a silverback.” There are subspecies of gorillas: western lowland, eastern lowland and mountain (1).
These subspecies, notwithstanding, are similar, and majority of the captured gorillas are western lowland. Gorillas are herbivores and human hunting is their only nature-inclined enemy. “On average, a gorilla lives to 35 years in the wild and 50 years in captivity.”
Colo had a mere unique experience different from the culture of the gorillas; they usually never learned skills related to parenthood from their own parents in the wild. Colo was reared by zookeepers in a nursery built by the Columbus Zoo. “In the years since Colo’s arrival, zookeepers have developed habitats that simulate”
Now, a gorilla’s natural environment and several gorillas born in captivity are now raised by their own mothers. However, if this proves futile, zoos have established surrogacy programs, in which humans cared for their infants and later handed over to other gorillas to cater for.
Colo earned great public interest, and she became a mother, grandmother, and also, great-grandmother (in 1996). Timu was the great-granddaughter of Colo, and also Timu gave birth to her first baby in year 2003. Finally, Colo died in 2017.
Today, there are about 750 captured gorillas around the world and about 100,000 lowland gorillas remaining in the wild, and as well as fewer mountain gorillas. Now, zoos are more interested in captive breeding programs and have agreed not to purchase gorillas born in the wild.
Colo, First-ever gorilla born in captivity