December 22 – Happy Birthday, Colo

Posted on December 22, 2014

Colo is the oldest living gorilla in captivity in the world.

AND she is the first gorilla ever to be born in captivity! In the world!

Colo's name is a shortened version of her birthplace: COLumbus, Ohio. And she and four of her offspring are still delighting Columbus Zoo visitors--especially on a day like today: Colo's birthday!

Colo is 58 years old today.

Colo was called Cuddles for a short while after her birth on this date in 1956. Perhaps the zookeepers who called her that helped to raise her. It is sad to report that baby Colo had been rejected by her mother and had to be hand-raised and bottle-fed by the zookeepers. Later, the zoo held a contest in order to choose the best official name.

Colo apparently did far better in the parenting category than did her mother. She had her first baby at age 11, and she and her mate Bongo had three offspring. They were all named after awards: Emmy, Oscar, and Toni.

Colo and Bongo on their first
play date 
In 1979 Colo became a grandma when her granddaughter Cora was born. In 1995, she became a great-grandma. Finally, in 2003, Colo became a – you got it! – great, great grandma! At this point, Colo is the direct ancestor of 21 living gorillas and of other gorillas who have since died.

What do you think...?
...About animals being kept in zoos and put on display for humans to enjoy? Is it a good thing? A bad thing?

Did you know that zoos are a tool used to help species recover from near extinction? Did you know that, when people actually get to see and “meet” animals, they are much more passionate about helping them and keeping their wild spaces intact? Did you know that zookeepers often help species maintain genetic diversity?

To learn more about why zoos and aquaria are important, read this or that.

However, some zoos are not as good for animals as others, and certainly in the past zoos were pretty horrible to animals. “Are zoos good for wildlife?” is a really complicated question with a complicated answer!
You can see how small and unnatural
the old-style zoo enclosures were...
Nowadays we do a lot better.

Also on this date:

Anniversary of first string of Christmas lights 

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