National Geographic : 1964 Mar
JAMBO - First gorilla raised by its mother in captivity By ERNST M. LANG Photographsby PAUL STEINEMANN GREAT APES are man's nearest relatives in the animal kingdom, and their natural history has long stimulated his interest. Yet until a short time ago little was known about these dwellers of the dense forests, particularly the gorilla. Thus it was a great event in the zoo world when on April 17, 1961, Achilla, one of our female lowland gorillas, gave birth to Jambo, whose name means "good morning" in Swahili. This happened in the Zoological Gardens in Basel, Switzerland, of which I am the director. Jambo was not the first gorilla baby born in a zoo; he was the third. But he was to prove an even more significant first in many ways. The important facts to be learned from such a captive birth come after the event: close-up observation of the relationship be tween adult and offspring, the rearing and training of the young by the mother. In both earlier cases, this was impossible. Colo, the first gorilla baby born in captivity, arrived in Columbus, Ohio, December 24, 1956. The mother left her lying on the cage floor. A keeper found her near death, revived her with artificial respiration, and she was reared by the zoo staff. Today she weighs a robust 130 pounds. The second gorilla infant was born to Achilla in our own zoo on September 23, 1959. Her name was Goma, and stories about her appeared in many publications. Achilla, then 12 years old, actu ally held her carefully in her arms -- but the wrong way round, with her back to her breast, so the young ape could not feed. We de cided therefore, on the second Three-hour-old Jambo, who weighed four pounds at birth, lies cradled in the arms of his mother Achilla at the Basel, Switzerland, Zoological Gardens. She caresses his lips with hers, as if kissing him. Previously, no gorilla born in cap tivity had been raised by its moth er-not even Jambo's older sister Goma (page 453). Year-old Jambo presses against his mother and begs for a cherry; she cannot resist. After two years, the zoo separated the mother and fully weaned son. 446 EKTACHROME© N.G.S.