Great Apes

Gorillas are just a few pounds at birth, but like Zoo Miami’s late troop leader “JJ” adult male Silverbacks can tip the scales at over 450 pounds. A few important gorilla subspecies have unfortunately been classified as endangered or critically endangered for many years, due to habitat destruction and poaching.

Our Gorillas

In the wild, western lowland gorillas typically stick together in groups with one dominant male leader and several female gorillas and their offspring. At Zoo Miami, our late Jimmy Jr., a.k.a. JJ, was the leader of our troop of gorillas. JJ was what’s known as a silverback. This name comes from the distinctive silver patch on a gorilla’s back that comes with maturity. As the silverback, JJ was in charge of the the females that he lived with. During the day, he was usually spotted lounging around by the viewing glass. When he was with zookeepers, JJ showed more energy, pounding on his chest and holding out his hands when asking for rewards during enrichment activities. His favorite activities were pretty much anything that involved getting his feet wet! Of the females, 50 -year-old Josephine was the oldest and had taken the role of leadership. Having been with JJ for quite a while, and being the oldest gorilla, Josephine took on a matriarchal role, acting motherly toward the younger 42 year old female Fredrika. Our gorillas enjoy enrichment activities that simulate activities they would do in the wild. For example, since gorillas are huge nest-builders, keepers provide materials twice a day so that the troop can build their own nests. Keepers will also scatter food around their homes so that the gorillas can “hunt” for their meals, keeping them sharp and entertained.  We are very sad to announce that J.J. passed away on Saturday, October 4, 2014, and Josephine was humanly euthanized due to her advance age and health issues on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

With Josephine’s passing, Fredrika, a 42 year old female, is the only gorilla that remains at Zoo Miami.  It is most likely that she will be transferred to another institution so that she can be socialized with another gorilla troop.  At that time, Zoo Miami will wait for the recommendation of the Gorilla SSP (Species Survival Plan) coordinator as to what gorillas will come to Zoo Miami to establish a new troop. 

 

Photo Gallery

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Adopt an Animal

There are many different ways to support your favorite Zoo Miami animal. Adopting an animal is a great way to say thank you to the animals that make your visits to the zoo special. When you become an annual sponsor, your tax-deductible gift will help our zoo keepers feed, care for, and enrich the lives of our special animal residents.

Support Zoo Miami by Donating Today

General support of Zoo Miami and Zoo Miami Foundation ensures that our commitment to education, conservation, animal care, and serving the community is fulfilled. There are many ways to give and show your support, from supporting an event or program at the zoo, capital support for new exhibits, or honoring a loved one. We are here to serve the community and we can do so much more with your support!

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Upload Your Videos & Photos

Have you been to Zoo Miami lately? Did you take a great photo or video? If so, we'd love to see your work. Submit your photos or videos to have them featured here on our site.

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  • Photo by Mariela Gonzalez
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