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Gorilla Matchmaking - Cincinnati Zoo

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Published on Nov 2, 2011

Trying to find a good match for a gorilla can sound much like a personal ad for humans (without the knuckle walking, of course). "Jomo," the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's 20-year-old silverback gorilla will soon welcome two female gorillas in hopes of finding true love. Cincinnati Zoo gorillas have been some of the most prolific gorillas in captivity, making Cincinnati one of the top breeders of this endangered species in the world, with 48 births to date.
Gorilla dating can be a slow process. "Asha", a nine-year-old female gorilla from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, arrived in Cincinnati on October 13, but she will remain off exhibit until next spring. "Anju", a 10-year-old female gorilla from the Pittsburgh Zoo is scheduled to arrive next spring. The Cincinnati Zoo will slowly introduce Asha and Anju to Jomo.
"All of the females that currently live here at the Cincinnati Zoo are considered over represented in captivity," said Ron Evans, Primate Team Leader at the Cincinnati Zoo. "However, our male Jomo is not. In order to breed Jomo, we needed to bring in other females that are genetically valuable."
The "gorilla match-making" was set up by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program, which acts like an online dating service that places gorillas at accredited zoos in the United States. However, the gorilla SSP is less interested in playing matchmaker based on superficial qualities such as looks, personality and income and more interested in pairing gorillas together based on genetics, age and biology.

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