LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A critically endangered gorilla is being introduced to the public for the first time Thursday since moving into her new home at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Twenty-four-year-old Ndjia, a female western lowland gorilla, was brought to the L.A. Zoo from the San Diego Zoo back in May. She has been paired up with the zoo’s male silverback gorilla, 31-year-old Kelly, with the hopes that they will breed.
“This move has allowed Ndjia to be placed in a breeding situation for the first time in her life, and it is the Zoo’s hope that Ndjia and the group’s male, Kelly, will take a liking to each other,” the zoo said in a news release.
Along with Ndjia and Kelly, the L.A. Zoo has two other gorillas: 42-year-old Evelyn and 24-year-old Rapunzel.
Western lowland gorillas are found in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Angola, according to the L.A. Zoo.
They are listed as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to illegal hunting, the Ebola virus and habitat destruction. Their population is believed to be decreasing rapidly, with no recent estimate on the number of western lowland gorillas left in the wild.
Last month, Koko, the famous western lowland gorilla who mastered sign language, died at the age of 46 in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains.