The day the first gorilla was born in a zoo – level 3


Gorillas are the closest relatives of humans right after chimpanzees. Their DNA is up to 99% identical to ours. Gorillas live in family groups like us and they can express emotions.

Gorillas live in the tropical rainforests of Central Africa, and although they have no natural enemies, they have been dying out. They lose their natural environment because of logging. Poachers also hunt them for their meat because some people in Africa believe that gorillas’ meat will give them power.

In 1956, the first gorilla was born in a zoo in the United States. Her name was Colo. The beginning of her life wasn’t easy at all. She was supposed to be born on January 8. However, she was born already on December 22, but nobody knew about it.

When a keeper found her on the floor, on December 22, there was no sign of life. The keeper began resuscitation immediately. Although people had little experience with resuscitation of animals at that time, he managed to bring Colo to life.

But the problems didn’t end there. Colo’s mother wasn’t able to take care of her. The zoo keepers had to take care of her 24/7. Colo later made up for their care. When she grew up a bit, she became very popular with zoo visitors. Ten times more people started to visit the zoo.

Colo was so popular that people started to be more interested in the life of gorillas. A number of organizations have emerged in that time that began to work on the protection of gorillas in the wild.

Colo eventually became a mother of three young gorillas.

She lived to be 60 years old, which is 25 years more than gorillas usually live in the wild.

Difficult words: although (even though), die out (to disappear step by step or slowly), logging (cutting trees in a forest), poacher (a person who shoots animals illegally), resuscitation (an activity which makes somebody breathe again), 24/7 (24 hours, 7 days a week, all the time), make up for (to compensate), emerge (to appear).

What organizations have been working to protect wild gorillas since Colo’s story gained attention?


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