- Created on Friday, 15 June 2012 20:29
- Written by Imperial Valley News
San Diego, California - This morning, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park held the first of three birthday parties for its youngest gorilla, Monroe. The first birthday celebration included a colorful cake made of ice and filled with fruits and vegetables, and the exhibit was filled with presents, toys and extra branches and leaves (also called browse) for the six-gorilla troop.
Overnight campers from the Safari Park's Roar & Snore program sang happy birthday when Monroe came into view.
The birthday boy was carried into the exhibit by his mother, Kokomo, but Monroe quickly crawled out of her arms and pounced on his cake, which had a candle carved from a carrot. He also reached in the branches of trees to get toys and climbed into boxes filled with straw to forage for food.
"Monroe is a very busy little guy. He's climbing all over the place and he's very independent," said Peggy Sexton, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "He's getting into everything and is very curious."
The celebration will continue on Saturday June 16 and Sunday June 17, 2012 with more ice cakes, presents and toys.
Monroe was born on June 17, 2011 to Kokomo and father Winston. Monroe is the first offspring for this pair and the first gorilla born at the Safari Park since 2001. Western lowland gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.