Bristol Zoo’s infant gorilla, Afia, meets Romina

November 01 2016

Family introductions have begun for Bristol Zoo’s eight-month-old Western lowland gorilla, Afia.

Family introductions have begun for Bristol Zoo’s eight-month-old Western lowland gorilla, Afia.

The infant, who has been raised behind-the-scenes since birth, took the huge step in meeting the Zoo’s 36-year-old female, Romina, while her keepers watched on.

According to keepers, who have been monitoring closely, the pair are getting on well and are now spending 24-hours a day together.

Bristol Zoo’s Curator of Mammals, Lynsey Bugg, said: “Since day one of Afia’s hand rearing, we have been planning on introducing Afia into the group within her first year to avoid imprinting and a lack of knowledge of gorilla-specific behaviour later in life.

“We had strong indications that both Romina and Afia were ready – Afia was physically and mentally strong enough and Romina was enjoying watching her through the mesh.

“We are absolutely thrilled that they are now bonding and getting on so well. We could tell that both were unsure at first, but they have grown to trust and understand each other. 

 Afia was born by emergency C-section on 12 February this year. Her birth mother, Kera, suffered complications following the birth and was not well enough to care for Afia. Because of this, Zoo staff made the decision to hand-rear her behind-the-scenes. This involved feeding throughout the day and night, taking it in turns to take her home overnight and encouraging and teaching natural gorilla behaviours.

Now that Afia and Romina have bonded, keepers say further introductions with the rest of the troop will begin to take place.