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The Louisville Zoo’s Gorilla Forest is home multiple family groups of gorillas.


Our Sanctuary Grows

A new gorilla group has temporarily joined the rotation in Gorilla Forest. We are caring for a male silverback and two female gorillas from the Bronx Zoo for 10 months before they move to their new zoo home.


Silverback Zuri was born in 1983.

He is closely bonded with female Holli and their offspring Sufi.

He is laid back and easy going and his favorite treats are peanuts.



Holli was born in 1989. Holli is confident and playful and is an attentive mother.

When she sees enrichment or a novel food item she vocalizes and gets very excited.



Sufi Bettine was born in 2001 and is known simply as Sufi.

She is playful and curious and sometimes can be seen spinning on one foot. She is closely bonded with her mother Holli.


photos courtesy of the Bronx Zoo



Bengati was born at Lincoln Park Zoo in 1998, and arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2002. Bengati currently resides with three other silverbacks, Jelani, Kicho and Cecil. He shares his father’s looks, but some physical traits of his great grandmother Helen can be seen in him as well.

(photo courtesy of Max Block)




Cecil was born at Cincinnati Zoo in 1998 and arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2004. He and Kicho share several relatives, including the same father. Cecil is the youngest member of the all-male group of four silverbacks. He is very intelligent and savvy and is the most dominant among the silverbacks.





Demba was born at Dallas Zoo in 1970. She moved to Philadelphia Zoo in 1999, then to Louisville Zoo in 2006. She commonly carries blankets made of cut material given to her by care staff and often “talks” to her keepers by directing contentment vocalizations toward them. She currently lives with Helen.





Helen was born in the wild in 1958, then lived at Lincoln Park Zoo until her arrival at Louisville Zoo in 2002. Helen’s hair has grayed, and she has a highly wrinkled face and grizzled sideburns. She prefers her alone time, but tolerates social living with Demb

(photo by Kim Raymond)





Jelani was born at Lincoln Park Zoo in 1997 and arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2002. Jelani currently resides with three other silverbacks, Bengati, Kicho and Cecil. He is a laid-back individual and likes to look at cellphone photos and videos. He enjoys the company of Bengati and they sometimes play or rest together.

(photo by Michael Maes)




Kicho was born at Cincinnati Zoo in 1997 and arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2004. He and Cecil share several relatives, including the same father. Kicho is the stockiest of the four silverbacks in the bachelor group, and can also be easily recognized by his protruding upper left canine tooth and his wall-eyes. He often enjoys splashing around in one of the outdoor pools, and he also can sometimes be found climbing the exhibits’ trees.

(photo by Max Block)




Kweli was born at Cincinnati Zoo in 1983 and arrived in Louisville in April of 2008. She is mother to Kicho (Louisville Zoo) and also has offspring at Pittsburgh Zoo and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. She was an excellent mother as well as a high-ranking and well-socialized female at Cincinnati. She lives in a group with Mia Moja, Paki and Mshindi.



Mia Moja was born at Zoo Atlanta in 1989 and arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2004. She is the smallest member of her group which includes Mshindi, Kweli and Paki. Mia Moja often dons scarves made of cut material that care staff gives her.

(photo courtesy of Jodi Kissinger, Zoo Atlanta)





Mshindi was born at St Louis Zoo in 1987 and arrived in Louisville in 2005. At 350 lbs, Mshindi is easily recognizable as the largest gorilla in his group. Mshindi usually keeps watch over things with an air of confidence, but sometimes can be seen charging around, reminding everyone who the boss is. The three females in his group are Mia, Kweli and Paki.

(photo courtesy of Saint Louis Zoo, Carol Weerts photographer)




Paki was born at Bronx Zoo in 1989. She arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2004 with Timmy and she currently lives with Mshindi, Mia Moja and Kweli. Paki prefers the company of Timmy but enjoys interaction with both visitors at the glass and care staff. Paki is often seen sucking her finger and standing upright

(photo by Roby Elsner)




Please note, to promote activity levels similar to those of gorillas in the wild, all gorillas will be encouraged to rotate through the various habitat areas at different times each day. Therefore it is impossible to predict in advance which gorillas will be on display at a specific time.

These photos are copyrighted and can not be used without permission of the photographer.