“We can keep an eye on how things are progressing.”. EDITOR’S NOTE: September 24 is World Gorilla Day. HE SHOULD BE AROUND AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. “You wouldn’t want to introduce a sexually naïve male that hasn’t had a lot of experience with courtship behavior.” (The human equivalent would be trying to match up an Eagle Scout with Madonna.). ©2020 Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10460. I think he might have he was a teenager when I visited the Bronx zoo in the 90’s. They appear to have relationships more durable than humans who have divorce.”. Once he does that, she stops, adopts a receptive position and the male mounts her.”. On the other hand Carl Safina, during a recent walk around the zoo, spoke of gorilla love. Once members of the species survival committee are confident they have a good genetic and behavioral match, they will give the go-ahead for transferring the gorilla to a new zoo. Both parents were born in the wild in the early 1960s, at a time when gorillas were still taken from their natural habitats. As for elephants, the Temptations’ classic “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” applies. Mr. Safina attributes that special feeling to oxytocin. Ernie has proven to be a great father who is patient and sweet with his offspring. It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. “We have the same brain chemicals that create mood and motivation in all vertebrates,” he said. 140. Ernie not only helps with his own health regimen but that of all apes living in zoos worldwide. Well yes, some, but it’s not very high quality, very deep or long lasting.”. What is early history? Carl Safina, an animal behavior expert, says gorillas like Ernie and his family feel the same lovesickness that humans do. THANK YOU. Ernie came to the Bronx Zoo in 2010 on a breeding recommendation from the Knoxville Zoo. Until then, the females are given a reversible oral contraceptive. It helps me visit with the animals all the way in MA. Two male baboons were eating ticks and bugs off each other’s backs. Tundra, the Bronx Zoo’s 26 -year-old polar bear, was euthanized several months after the filming of his segment was completed due to medical conditions associated with old age. Mr. Safina, who is a professor at Stony Brook University, has traveled the world observing animals in the wild, including elephants, dolphins, wolves and albatrosses, and says the more he sees, the more he is convinced that many animals experience love in the same way humans do. But, according to Dr. Thomas, the male’s relationship with the others is still shaky, so the troop has yet to appear in public. Was Ernie born in the zoo? Adult male gorillas are called silverback males due to the saddle of silver hair across their backs. He has since sired four additional offspring, and they currently all live in a family troop. “I personally wouldn’t use the word ‘love’ to describe the relationship,” said Patrick Thomas, the general curator of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the zoo. In Ernie’s case, he has to be able to get along with Julia, Layla, Tuti, Kumi and Suki. EDITOR’ S NOTE: The story of Ernie the western lowland gorilla was featured on Sunday’s episode of Animal Planet’s THE ZOO now in its third season. The largest and most impressive western lowland gorilla living at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is Ernie, the 35-year-old silverback. When zookeepers describe Ernie, they use words like “cautious,” “gentle,” “patient” and “excellent father.”. Lions and elephants make male gorillas look like family men. One of four females with her offspring at the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. “It’s easier on him if we can do it in a quieter, off-exhibit area,” Dr. Thomas said. Ernie, whose stud registry number is 808, was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Dec. 7, 1982, to Moemba, No. During Mr. Safina’s tour that day, there was very little contact between the sexes. The series takes viewers behind the scenes at the Bronx Zoo and the other WCS wildlife parks in New York City to tell powerful, compelling stories of animals and their care givers, and the zoos’ contribution to conserving wildlife around the globe. World Gorilla Day hopes to build appreciation and action for these great apes that are critically endangered in the wild. “The male chases around the female, who runs away, but wants to be caught. Is he also loving? A gorilla in the all-male enclosure at the Bronx Zoo. “If it’s a young male gorilla that was raised in a very small troop, bringing him to the Bronx, where he’s going to be exposed to four or five adult females, might not be in his best interest,” Dr. Thomas said. Looking for love in New York is not for the meek. He is an ecologist, a winner of a MacArthur award and author of the recent book “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel.” As far as he’s concerned, gorillas like Ernie and his five female companions feel the same thing in their chest cavities that humans do: the ache of a lovesick heart. ©2020 Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10460. In the distance, on a hill, a 5-foot-tall, 505-pound male silverback named Ernie gazed out over it all, chewing on a celery stalk. One of the most popular animals in the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at WCS’s Bronx Zoo is Ernie, the 36-year-old western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla).Ernie is the largest gorilla and primate residing at the zoo. Saw a feature on him on Animal Planet “There’s sex without bonding in humans and other animals,” he said. Ernie came to the Bronx Zoo in 2010 on a breeding recommendation from the Knoxville Zoo. Rest in peace Ernie. Born in the Oklahoma City Zoo, he lived in Colorado Springs and Knoxville, Tenn., before arriving in the Bronx on May 25, 2010, shipped in a large crate via FedEx overnight express. Dr. Thomas says that when a new coalition of male lions takes control of a pride, the first thing they will try to do is kill all the young cubs that are still nursing. Is Ernie the gorilla still at the zoo? He comes from strong genetic stock; his mother lived to the age of 50, quite old for a gorilla. Or is he only in it for the sex? Oops! Rest in peace, Ernie... “Ernie, one of our silverback gorillas, died this weekend due to complications from congestive heart failure. Ernie is 32 and has been around. It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. If you've been to Congo Gorilla Forest recently, chances are you've seen Ernie. Ernie sired his first offspring in the spring of 2014 with female, Julia. Ernie is the largest gorilla and primate residing at the zoo. Asked what it all meant, Mr. Safina looked stymied, but only for a moment. DO YOU THINK THAT HIS CHILDREN WILL INHERIT HIS HEART PROBLEM. You guys are amazing! “They’re eliminating a competitor’s genes from making it into the future,” he says. “But also it causes a cub’s mother to come back into estrus so that the new male can breed with the females sooner.”. Many mornings the keepers will find Ernie still in his nest with a couple of the kids wrestling and playing around him. About a year ago, officials at the Bronx Zoo assembled a second troop consisting of a male silverback and four females. Condolences to all who are affected by his passing. In the United States, all gorillas are conceived of in Cleveland, or at least that is where the chairwoman of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is based. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript! All of the gorillas at the Bronx Zoo participate in operant condition training sets with the zookeeper staff. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript! One of the most popular animals in the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at WCS’s Bronx Zoo is Ernie, the 36-year-old western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Two radiated turtles touched noses, but that was all. On a bright summer’s day at the Bronx Zoo, four adult female gorillas nursed their babies until the little gorillas were so full of mother’s milk, they fell asleep in the hot afternoon sun. On a bright summer’s day at the Bronx Zoo, four adult female gorillas nursed their babies until the little gorillas were so full of mother’s milk, they fell asleep in the hot afternoon sun. Looking at how massive he is makes it hard to believe he was once a little guy like his son Kidogo Njemba. Celebrate by visiting gorillas at the Bronx Zoo or your local zoo. “They just look for females in estrus, mate with them, and that’s all they have to do with the females and the babies,” Mr. Safina said. Ernie, a 505-pound male silverback, watching over several of his offspring at the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. YOU ALL DO SUCH WONDERFUL WORK. The data collected from the training sets is shared with the Great Ape Heart Project, an organization of zoo professionals whose goal is to create a baseline of ape cardiac health to better understand and treat heart-related disease. How’s he doing ? 144, and Kathryn, No. Gorillas, like all ape species, can develop cardiac disease and ultrasounds enable the staff to monitor the heart health of each of the silverbacks. And as anyone who has ever been married to even one person knows, trying to stay married to five primates — good luck with that. “Is there any romance in a one-night stand? He was 36 years old. The 36-year-old western lowland gorilla is the largest gorilla that resides at the zoo! I SURE DO HOPE IT DOES NOT CUT HIS LIFE SHORT. The male gorilla will protect the troop if it is threatened, and because female gorillas will leave if they are unhappy, Ernie has an incentive to behave himself. We want to know about yours. I live in MA but have family in Long Island. Ernie at Bronx Zoo passed away on July 26th, 2019, from complications from congestive heart failure. But does Ernie love the five adult female gorillas in his troop? He spends most of his days lounging in … Ernie plays with his babies, and can stop a young gorilla from too much roughhousing just by arching his sagittal crest. A gorilla’s personality, sexual experience and behavioral patterns are also factored in. The current focus of the training for the six silverbacks living at the zoo is having them participate in voluntary cardiac ultrasounds. And Ernie spent the afternoon behind a rock, out of sight. He weighs between 450 and 500 pounds depending on the time of year, making him one of the largest silverbacks in North America. They run side by side and eventually he lays his trunk along her back, as if they were playing tag. This summer, we’re exploring love in the hot season, and love often starts with a date. Certainly he knows what he’s doing, having sired four babies who were born to his mates in the last 18 months. “I’ve never heard of a wolf abandoning his children. The plan involves zookeepers from around the country who meet regularly to oversee the breeding plans for the 353 gorillas currently inhabiting 51 American zoos. “Wolves will spend a lot of energy trying to attract a specific wolf, and they form a bond that will last all their lives,” he said. The keepers, in conjunction with the veterinary team, practice daily ultrasound training with Ernie. We were planning a trip this summer but when my mom died the trip was postponed. In less than a minute, he’s done, and skulks off into the brush in search of another female who is willing to spend a minute with him. At these meetings, the first step to assembling a new troop is making sure the gorillas will be a good genetic match and thus avoid the sort of inbreeding that helped bring down the Hapsburg Empire. The goal of the training sets is husbandry-based, meaning they aid in monitoring and maintaining the health of the gorillas. “Ernie, one of our silverback gorillas, died this weekend due to complications from congestive heart failure. Whether it is love or hormones, most visitors to the zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest do not have a clue how many conference calls, committee meetings, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations it takes to produce a healthy relationship between two gorillas.

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