On Saturday 23 March, Jersey Zoo’s beloved young gorilla, Indigo, will be leaving the island. The adolescent western lowland gorilla, who will turn 7 years old later this year, will be travelling to his new home at Pairi Daiza in Belgium, where he will join a group of other young male gorillas, one of which is his uncle, Lomako.
Indigo was born at Jersey Zoo on the 27 September 2012 to mum, Hlala Kahilli and dominant silverback, Badongo. Since Indigo’s birth he has been an adored member of Durrell’s gorilla family, whose playful, and often mischievous, personality has been enjoyed by both staff and visitors alike. He will be greatly missed, but keepers say he is now ready to move on to a bachelor group.
Durrell’s Deputy Head of Mammals, Gordon Hunt said, “This stage of Indigo’s life is an important time for him to move on. When western lowland gorillas reach six to nine years old, they are at their most adaptable age to deal with this kind of change. In the wild, gorilla groups are quite dynamic — they are family units, but individuals often leave, particularly the young males, and other gorillas come and join the group. When Indigo moves to Pairi Daiza, he will be paired up with a young male from Dublin of a similar age and he will also meet his uncle, Lomako, who is Badongo’s brother. They will form a temporary bachelor group, as they would do in the wild before they find a female or form their own family group. We are sad to see him go, but we’re optimistic that he will have a good future in Belgium.”
Senior Mammal Keeper, Mark Beresford, who has been one of Indigo’s keepers since he was born says, “It’s always sad when an animal you spend so much time with moves on to a new home, but it’s essential that he does because it’s all part of growing up. I’m sure Kahilli, Badongo and the other gorillas will miss him, although I do think he is starting to outgrow the family group — Kishka seems to be getting a little tired of his boisterous attitude!”
Members of the public are encouraged to visit the zoo to see Indigo prior to his departure on the 23 March, to say a final farewell before he leaves.