Zoo Knoxville’s gorilla babies have just turned one and the zoo is throwing them a party to celebrate.  The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, June 11, at the Gorilla Valley courtyard.


Obi and Ubuntu will discover new toys and special treats when they come out of their overnight dens.  Zoo guests are invited to come watch the fun as the precocious youngsters take it all in.


Obi, a female gorilla whose name means “heart”, was born on May 28, 2016.  Her half-brother Ubuntu, whose name means “I am because you are”, was born five days later on June 2, 2015.  The one-year-olds are active and a typical day in Gorilla Valley will find them climbing to the top of their indoor courtyard, entangled in a game of play or pestering each other as only siblings can.  They were the first gorilla babies ever born in Knoxville and are expecting the arrival of a new brother or sister in late summer or early fall when female Kowali gives birth.


Obi and Ubuntu are important ambassadors for critically endangered Western lowland gorillas.  Zoo Knoxville works with other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as part of the combined conservation effort of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which manages the breeding and social placement of all gorillas in the U.S. and is working to save gorillas from extinction.