September 22, 2017
Our Gentle Giant
- as seen by -Kate McMahon
The largest and most impressive western lowland gorilla living at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is Ernie, the 35-year-old silverback. Ernie came to the Bronx Zoo in 2010 on a breeding recommendation from the Knoxville Zoo. He weighs between 450 and 500 pounds depending on the time of year, making him one of the largest silverbacks in North America. Looking at how massive he is makes it hard to believe he was once a little guy like his son Kidogo Njemba.
Ernie sired his first offspring in the spring of 2014 with female, Julia. He has since sired four additional offspring, and they currently all live in a family troop. Ernie has proven to be a great father who is patient and sweet with his offspring. Many mornings the keepers will find Ernie still in his nest with a couple of the kids wrestling and playing around him.
EDITOR’S NOTE: September 24 is World Gorilla Day. Celebrate by visiting gorillas at the Bronx Zoo or your local zoo. World Gorilla Day hopes to build appreciation and action for these great apes that are critically endangered in the wild.