Gorillas arrive to keep male gorilla company

AP News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2011 2:30 PM
Gorillas arrive to keep male gorilla company

Two female gorillas arrived Friday at a zoo in southeastern Brazil to help an older member of the opposite sex end more than two decades of bachelorhood.

Kifta and Imbi, both age 11, arrived from the Port Lympne and Howletts wild animal parks in Kent, England, said Belo Horizonte zoo spokeswoman Angela Lutterbach.

After a 30-to 40-day quarantine period, the two younger gorillas will join 37-year-old Idi, who has been until now the only gorilla in captivity in South America, Lutterbach said.

For many years, Idi's full name was Idi Amin, the same as that of the late Ugandan dictator, Lutterbach said, adding that she did not know who gave him that name.

"But a few months ago we decided to shorten his name to just Idi," she said. "It was a matter of good taste."

The three animals are of the Western Lowland Gorilla subspecies and the first members of a what zoo officials hope will eventually become a gorilla breeding center to guarantee the subspecies' survival, Lutterbach said.

Idi came to Brazil from France's Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat zoo in 1975, accompanied by his mate, Dada, who died three years later of a generalized infection. In 1984, Cleopatra, Dada's replacement, arrived at the Belo Horizonte zoo but she died two weeks later.

Idi has been mateless since then.