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Riverbanks zoo’s baby gorilla gets a name

Riverbanks Zoo has a well-planned baby boom

Breeding and raising healthy animals is part of Riverbanks Zoo's mission to create self-sustaining animal populations for educational purposes in zoos. The zoo has recently welcomed baby giraffes, lions, koalas and an Eastern Lowland Gorilla.
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Breeding and raising healthy animals is part of Riverbanks Zoo's mission to create self-sustaining animal populations for educational purposes in zoos. The zoo has recently welcomed baby giraffes, lions, koalas and an Eastern Lowland Gorilla.

He’s simply been known as the new kid in town for four months, but now he has a name.

Thursday, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden announced what everyone can start calling their youngest gorilla.

His name is Moyo.

Born in October 2018 to mother Macy and father Cenzoo, Moyo was the second gorilla born at Riverbanks last year. His half brother, who was the first infant gorilla raised at the Columbia zoo, was born in June 2018.

Moyo is Swahili for heart.

Named by the gorillas’ keepers, the infant was given the title for a heart-shaped mark above his mother’s nose. Moyo’s grandmother also had the same feature.

“So we’re hoping that Moyo, as he grows older, will develop that indention (above his nose) as well,” Brooke Hunsinger, a gorilla keeper, said in a video about the naming.

A gorilla born to Macy in May 2017 didn’t survive. Moyo appears to be doing well though. He’s now starting to crawl around on his own and trying to eat solid food, according to keepers, even trying to nab some of his mom’s lettuce at times.

“Macy doesn’t like him stealing her lettuce so she steals it right back,” said Meredith Hinton, another keeper.

Moyo was born during a fecund year for Riverbanks. The zoo welcomed a newborn giraffe, koala, two litters of African lion cubs, penguins and numerous Santa Cruz Island Galapagos tortoises.

The zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, or AZA, and is dedicated to preserving endangered animals from around the world through a breeding program called the Active Species Survival Plan.

Macy and Cenzoo could not be reached for comment about their baby’s name.

During feeding time at Riverbanks Zoo, the gender of the baby Lowland Gorilla born about two-months ago to mom Kazi and dad Cenzoo was revealed.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.
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