Melbourne Zoo's Gorilla Family Swing To A New View
Melbourne Zoo’s Gorilla family are climbing to new heights after the installation of platforms of various levels in their rainforest home.
The platform stations - complete with vertical tree trunks, a multi-platform swing structure and a hammock - have
been carefully designed to allow the primates to climb, swing and play, creating new opportunities for exercise and
exploration that encourage natural movement and behaviours.
Melbourne Zoo Primates Life Sciences Manager Gillian Maxwell said the Gorillas wasted no time investigating their
"When they first came out of their dens they were a little bit cautious of the new structure, but clearly very
interested,” Ms Maxwell said. “The youngest Gorilla, Kanzi, was definitely the more curious of the family. She was the
first to get up on the structures to test the ropes out and climb high up on the platform to check out her new
The Gorillas at Melbourne Zoo include six-year-old Kanzi, her parents Kimya and Otana and the unrelated but closely
bonded Yuska, who is more than 50 years old.
Ms Maxwell said the new platforms are designed to allow the Gorillas new ways to explore.
“Gorillas are very social animals - very playful and inquisitive. They spend a lot of time searching through their
environment for food, foraging, and the platforms will provide some great opportunities for them to do that, and also
rest together as a group,” Ms Maxwell said.
“The ironbark trees have come down from Queensland, which are incredibly strong and great for climbing. So, they’re
going to enable the Gorillas to get up really high in their exhibit and get a great view of their surrounding area.”
Western Lowland Gorillas are one of four gorilla sub-species, and are classified as critically endangered by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Wild populations are threatened by habitat loss from logging
and the impact of mining for coltan, a mineral used to make mobile phones. Zoos Victoria's 'They're Calling On You'
initiative encourages the public to donate unwanted mobile phones that can be recycled to raise funds for wild gorilla
care and conservation.
The Gorilla Platform Project was kindly funded by John Cochrane through the Willy Wonka program – an initiative that
encourages staff to create novel and unique animal enrichment ideas for a range of Zoos Victoria animals.