Gorillas in the Zoos

Zoos play a very important role in our lives. Not only do they present us with an accessible means to see exotic animals up close, they also educate us about the different animal species as well as help preserve those animal groups that are endangered.

All the gorilla subspecies fall within the endangered category under the IUCN threatened species classification. This means that zoos have an extremely important role to play in gorilla conservation. Were the gorilla ever to become extinct in the wild the preservation of the species would now be wholly dependent on the survival of those individuals (and their offspring) in captivity. But there’s an ironic twist to this…because some of the most endangered subspecies of gorilla (namely the mountain gorilla), to date, have never survived in captivity.

Almost all the gorillas in zoos today are western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). In 1976 when the gorilla was included in Appendix I of CITES , of the 498 gorillas in captivity, 403 were born in the wild. This is in big contrast to the situation today. Of the 692 gorillas in captivity as of the end of 1991, 371 (slightly more than 53%) were born in captivity. This is a welcome trend, because previously thousands of gorillas were killed in attempts to capture youngsters destined for zoos.

List of Zoos With Gorillas
Lincoln Park Zoo London Zoo Melbourne Zoo
The Bronx Zoo Edinburgh Zoo Ueno Zoo
San Diego Zoo Paignton Zoo
Columbus Zoo Twycross Zoo
Philadelphia Zoo Bristol Zoo
Saint Louis Zoo Blackpool Zoo
Toronto Zoo Belfast Zoo
Smithsonian National Zoological Park Hannover Zoo
Denver Zoo Dortmund Zoo
San Franciso Zoo Budapest Zoo
Atlanta Zoo Apenheul Primate Park
Dallas Zoo Barcelona Zoo
North Carolina Zoo
Cleveland Zoo
Oklahoma City Zoo
Kansas City Zoo
Buffalo Zoo
Omaha Zoo
Zoo New England
Como Park Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Hogle Zoo
Knoxville Zoo
Sedgwick County Zoo
Gladys Porter Zoo
Little Rock Zoo
Santa Barbara Zoo
American Zoo Assn.
Erie Zoo
Fortworth Zoo
Topeka Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo