Zoo Knoxville Announces Gender and Name of Baby Gorilla

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Zoo Knoxville Announces Gender and Name of Baby Gorilla

Posted: 09/23/2016
Andi the Gorilla photo by Tennessee Trails PhotographyThe newest baby born at Zoo Knoxville is a girl, and the tiny Western lowland gorilla has been christened Andi.

The baby is named in honor of Andie Ray, a community visionary who loved gorillas and supported Zoo Knoxville’s work to save Western lowland gorillas from extinction. Andie passed away unexpectedly in December, 2015. She was instrumental in connecting the Ray family to gorillas at Zoo Knoxville. The Ray family named the first gorilla ever born at the zoo, Obi, whose name means “heart”, in June of 2015. The name “Andi” means “brave, strong, valiant and courageous”.

The third Western lowland gorilla born in Knoxville to mother Kowali and father Bantu arrived the night of September 10, 2016.

Andi is the half-sister to 15-month-old Obi and Ubuntu, who have been very inquisitive about their new sibling. All three babies will spend the next several years growing up in Knoxville, and when age-appropriate may move to other zoos on breeding recommendations as part of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan, which is working to save gorillas from extinction. With fewer than 100,000 gorillas estimated to remain in the wild, Western lowland gorillas are classified as a Critically Endangered species by the IUCN Redlist of Endangered Species, which is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species.

“Andie was someone who cared deeply about her community and embodied the philosophy that one person can create positive change. Just as Andie made a difference in Knoxville, this gorilla is important to the survival of this critically endangered species,” says Lisa New, President and CEO of Zoo Knoxville.

Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Zoo Knoxville features exhibits of wild animals in natural habitats and is world renowned for its efforts in conservation and species survival. Zoo Knoxville is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Knoxville’s largest attraction, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Currently, the zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information visit zooknoxville.org.

Andi the gorilla photo by Tennessee Trails Photography.