Twelve-year old male gorilla Otana has experienced his new Gorilla Rainforest home for the first time after being cleared from quarantine on Monday.
Otana took a cautious approach to the new setting, spending most of the day in or near the doorway to the night den, with a couple of forays further into the exhibit during the day.
Senior Primate Keeper Damian Lewis says that it was expected that Otana would take a while to get used to the Gorilla Rainforest, as it is very different from the one he was used to in his birthplace, Howlett’s Wild Animal Park in the U.K.
Damian Lewis went to Howlett’s to get to know Otana and travelled back with him so he would have a familiar face to help him settle in when he arrived in Melbourne.
Damian has been observing Otana closely and is confident that he will make an excellent leader of the gorilla group.
After the sad loss recently of our male gorilla, Rigo, it was very important to bring in another male to become the new group leader.
The natural social structure of gorilla groups is a male with several females and their young.