Western Lowland Gorilla

Western Lowland Gorillas are native to central Africa, though our gorillas were all born and raised in other American zoos. Here in Houston, two troops call the zoo home. They have been specifically chosen to make the move to Houston as part of the Species Survival Plan.

Gorillas inhabit a variety of forests as well as lowland areas in their native habitat. Their diet is mainly fruit and vegetation.

The endangered western lowland gorilla faces many threats. Their native habitat in central and west Africa is shrinking largely due to the expansion of mining and agriculture in the area. The already dwindling population faces the added threat from hunting.


  • Scientific Name: Gorilla gorilla
  • Range: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon
  • Status in the Wild: Critically Endangered
  • Location in the Zoo: African Forest
  • Cool Animal Fact: Gorillas have unique noseprints and fingerprints. Scientists use noseprints to identify gorillas in the wild.

Our Gorillas

The Bachelor Group of three male gorillas arrived from the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina, where they lived together for years. Chaka and Mike lived at the Riverbanks Zoo since 2004, when the pair arrived from Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania. Ajari joined them in 2013 from Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee.

Chaka’s birthday is 7/22/84
Mike’s birthday is 12/24/91
Ajari’s birthday is 10/30/2000

Zuri, Holli and their daughter Sufi Bettine came to Houston from the Bronx Zoo after a nine month stay at the Louisville Zoo, and Binti is from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Gorillas typically live in groups of one dominant male, multiple females and their offspring.

Zuri’s birthday is 10/09/83
Holli’s birthday is 11/10/89
Sufi Bettine’s birthday is 12/27/01
Binti’s birthday is 10/02/74

Helping Gorillas in the Wild

Gorillas in the wild are endangered, and the Houston Zoo works with several organizations in Africa to protect and save them: Conservation Heritage – Turambe, Gorilla Doctors and GRACE.

Find out more about how we help wild gorillas through partnership and support, and what you can do to help!