ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The ABQ BioPark says goodbye to one gorilla, but is welcoming another. The BioPark reports that ‘Marcus’ the Western lowland gorilla left on March 18 for another Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facility. According to a press release from the Biopark, once his standard safety quarantine is over and is ready to be moved into his public habitat, the facility will announce his arrival. Marcus will be living at the facility along with three females and their offspring.
“Of course we were sad to say goodbye to Marcus, who had been with us since he was just a few years old,” said Lynn Tupa, ABQ BioPark Zoo manager in a press release. “Marcus was a confident silverback here at the BioPark and we hope he will take on that role with his new troop.”
Marcus is 35-years-old and was born at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens. He had lived at the BioPark since 1987 along with females Matadi, Nia Lewa, and Samantha.
“He’s been part of the family group for 30 years and he was a favorite of everybody. He was a very mellow gorilla and he really took care of his females, that’s what the silverback does, he protects all of them and he often let them run him ragged, you know, the girls were spoiled with him,” said Frentzel.
The BioPark reports it received a new male gorilla named Kojo on April 14 from the Smithsonian National Zoo. Staff from the Smithsonian say the 19-year-old gorilla has a lot of personality.
BioPark officials say they hope Kojo will become the silverback to his new companions following an introduction period. According to the BioPark, the silverback is a mature male who acts as the dominant member of the social group.
Kojo is being introduced to the females in the troop, Matadi, Nia Lewa, and Samantha. He will be able to be viewed by the public in the coming weeks.
“We actually just started our introductions between him and our oldest females, Matadi who is 39. We have the two other females who are going to be part of his family group, Sam and Nia,” said Senior Primate Keeper Jo Frentzel.
Kojo hasn’t been around females in almost ten years and Frentzel says he is nervous but the females are very excited.