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Gorilla Yakini celebrates his 18th birthday!
It is a very special day at Werribee Open Range Zoo today as we celebrate everyone’s favourite bachelor Yakini’s 18th birthday!
Born in 1999, gorilla Yakini stole the hearts of Australians when he was born via caesarean at Melbourne Zoo. Teams of doctors from the Royal Children’s Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital assisted in the delivery and keepers successfully hand-raised Yakini before reintroducing him to his mother Yuska. Yakini grew up at Melbourne Zoo before moving with his brother Ganyeka and father Motaba to Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2011. Over the last few years, Yakini has taken over as the dominant male of the group – a responsibility he takes very seriously.
Zoo Keeper Kathy Scanlon said Yakini was a terrific leader of the bachelor gorilla group at Werribee Open Range Zoo. “He is a very calm and assured presence amongst the group and exerts his leadership in subtle ways, whether he’s ensuring he’s the first to eat or by taking first pick of the outdoor shelters.”
“Despite being the leader of the group, Yakini has a very sweet nature with his keepers and it is a great privilege to work with him every day.”
Zoo volunteers prepared a special frozen fruit and vegetable cake (with rhubarb candles) to mark the occasion as well as personalised hessian goodie bags filled with his favourite treats including popcorn, dried paw-paw and pineapple.
Since his birth made headlines back in 1999, Yakini has been an important ambassador for gorillas in the wild which are under threat from the illegal mining of coltan. You can help protect gorillas in the wild by recycling mobile phones through Zoos Victoria’s They’re Calling on You program.