Friday, February 13, 2009

Intro to Campo Gorilla's Troop Leader Kelly

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

The Los Angeles Zoo has something new for me with every visit, which is often ... 3-5 times a week. For, I take most of my walks there. It's landscaping and gardens are beautiful, and its residents are fascinating. It definitely keeps me motivated to keep walking. And, since I greatly enjoy sharing my experiences and the knowledge accumulating since the beginnings of my visits to the zoo, I begin this blog. Though every one of the zoo's residents are incredible, my favorite are it's great apes ... the Gorillas, Orangutans, and the Chimpanzees. So, I'll begin my blogging with Campo Gorilla Reserve.

Campo Gorilla Reserve is divided into two large exhibits of Western Lowland Gorillas ... the family troop, which includes Kelly, Rapunzel, Glenda, and Evelyn; and the bachelors, which are half-brothers Hasani and Jabari. Each one of the gorillas are very distinctive in looks and personalities. And, since these animals are each so interesting, this particular blog will concentrate on just one of them ... Kelly, the silverback and troop leader of the family unit.

According to the bio found at the Campo Gorilla Reserve, Kelly, born April 11, 1987 at the Los Angeles Zoo, is the troop leader of Rapunzel, Glenda, and Evelyn. Kelly and Rapunzel are parents of the 3 1/2 year old Glenda. This silverback is known as the "gentle giant," and is a great troop leader and father.

According to the Gorilla Studbook, Kelly was born to Chris (wild born who died April 18, 1997 in the Los Angeles Zoo) and Cleopatra (born July 23, 1978 in Los Angeles, and died November 9, 2000 at the Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo). Cleopatra's father was wild born Capt Jack, who died January 27, 1978 at the Los Angeles Zoo, and her mother, and grandmother of Kelly, was Sandy, who was wild born and died January 10, 1998 at the Los Angeles Zoo. Kelly and Rapunzel's offspring include Glenda, aka Tinga, and Tulivu. Glenda lives with parents Kelly and Rapunzel, but Tulivu lives in Albuquerque's Rio Grande Zoo because Rapunzel didn't know how to mother at the time of Tulivu's birth, according to some news articles (see below).

These next two pictures show what a truly loving and caring father Kelly can be. He often plays with his daughter Glenda (aka Tinga). Sometimes he runs from her, or sometimes he chases her in a game similar to tag. In one of the pictures to the left, you'll see Kelly appear to give Glenda something like a "zerbits." Sometimes he'll slide down the hill on his belly, a trick he learned from young Glenda. Other times, he'll gather sticks with her. He is very protective of her, also.

On Tuesday, 2/10/09, he proved his protectiveness of her when Glenda decided she wanted what "Auntie" Evelyn had to eat. Evelyn had several branches full of leaves to munch on. Even though Glenda's mother, Rapunzel, also had some, Glenda wanted Evie's. Glenda attempted to grab some from Evelyn, but Evelyn swatted at her. So, Glenda ran and got her "daddy" Kelly. Kelly positioned himself on a rock nearby to watch the proceedings. Everyone knows not to cross Kelly, and so Evelyn had no choice but to let Glenda take her branches one by one and putting them in a corner. Glenda didn't feel she was getting enough of a rise out of Evelyn, and so she actually hit Evelyn on the head with some of the longer branches. When Evie sat there and took it, Glenda started shaking the branches as she took them to see if she could cause Evelyn's anger to flair. When it got down to the final 2 branches, Evelyn had enough, and tossed the branches over toward Glenda as if to say, "Have it your way!" At this point, Kelly didn't feel he was needed any more, and began walking away. Evelyn saw her chance and began gathering her branches back to her area. When Glenda started to take them back, Evie swatted at Glenda, and Kelly turned back around. So, Evelyn had to pretend she wasn't doing anything. After a moment, Kelly proceeded to the back of the enclosure. Glenda realized at this point that she was a bit cornered, and left with no protection, and then moved around Evelyn and toward her father. When she realized that her Daddy could still see her, she turned around and hit Evelyn on the head. But, when Kelly moved out of eye sight, Glenda had to eventually move on.

As you see in this picture, Kelly is quite protective of Rapunzel, too. One sign of aggression to Gorillas is beating of the chest. And, just before this picture was shot, two young men began beating their chests and making noises (NOT a good thing to do!!!). Kelly then moved quickly over to Rapunzel and stood guard over her for a moment. Then, he proceeded to take his family to the back of the enclosure.


Los Angeles Zoo Gorilla Bios:

Gorillas Bound for New Digs:

Gorillas in New Exhibit:

Campo Gorilla Reserve Opens:

When Kelly Turned 20 at Denver Zoo:,1299,DRMN_...

A Funny Pic of Kelly:


  1. How exciting to find that Kelly has a whole entry dedicated to him! Thank you for sharing our handsome silverback to the world!