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Miami Zoo Debuts Two Endangered Silverback Gorillas 'Barney' and 'Shango'

Jun 21, 2017 10:06 AM EDT
Zoo Miami Welcomes Two New Endangered Silverback Gorillas
Two silverback gorillas debut in Zoo Miami for a breeding program. The zoo prepared an enclosure for the gorillas to breed once they found female silverbacks gorillas for the program.
(Photo : CBS Miami/YouTube Screenshot)

The Segwick County Zoo in Miami recently welcomed two endangered silverback gorillas.

The silverback gorillas are brothers. The elder male, 28, is called "Shango" while his younger brother "Barney" is 23. They arrived at the Sedgwick County Zoo on May 20.

Being endangered species, it took a lot of effort before they were transferred to their new permanent home. The silverback gorillas, Barney and Shango, were quarantined before they were sent to the zoo. During their time in isolation, the Segwick County Zoo management made sure that their home and the exhibit venue were modified.

The two silverback gorillas will be residents at the gorilla exhibit inside the zoo. They will be seen along with the newly renovated exhibit.

Barney and Shango are silverback gorillas originally from the dense forest of Congo Basin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, and Gabon. They are considered to be lowland gorillas.

"These two guys are just very handsome gorillas," Ron Magill, a spokesman for Zoo Miami said in a statement.

The lowland silverback gorillas are physically huge. They can grow over 5 feet tall with over 400 pounds of weight. While females weigh an average of 150 to 200 pounds. They may look frightening at first sight but silverback gorillas are vegetarians and are far less aggressive than other huge animals like bears. They even earned the name "gentle giants." But despite being harmless, they are now considered as endangered species.

Shango and Barney were transferred to the Miami zoo for the Species Survival Plan. However, they still need female silverback gorillas in order to breed. The goal is to find them silverback gorilla brides to procreate in the one-acre enclosure inside the zoo. The area was fitted with climbing platforms and ropes.

"We want this to be a love castle for the gorillas," Magill added. "It's paradise here for them."

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