Friday, March 6, 2009

On to Rapunzel ...

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.

Ok, back to the family troop of the Campo Gorilla Reserve of Los Angeles Zoo ... to Rapunzel. Rapunzel was born February 20, 1984, at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, but has been a great asset to the Los Angeles Zoo. She and Kelly have had 2 offspring, including Tulivu and Glenda (aka Tinga). Both daughters were born at the Denver Zoo while Campo Gorilla Reserve was under construction. Though Tulivu had to be handraised when it was evident that Rapunzel didn't know how to take care of a baby, after learning from videos and other activities, Rapunzel has proven herself a very good mother to Glenda.
Rapunzel is quite complex. She can be very shy, and seemingly anti-social to visitors at times, but if you watch her closely, you can tell, she is quietly taking it all in. She notices when things are not as "they should be" and will appear to take note of them. When Glenda is playing with Kelly or Auntie Evelyn, she will position herself to watch and make sure things are safe for Glenda. Though she loves to eat, she will often let the others pick their food first, but then she keeps eating when others have finished. At times, she will help her daughter's antics ... like one day she let Glenda stand on her back so that Glenda could stand above the visitors and look down on them at the observatory window.
Another time, she let Glenda stand on her back to peek in the backroom window when Evelyn didn't come out after lunch.
Rapunzel is sweet and recognizes frequent visitors. For instance, she will watch me, so I will nod and look away (it isn't polite to a gorilla to stare at them).
One day she even patted her belly for me and my youngest son because Glenda used to do so each time we visited. Just don't expect as much activity from Rapunzel as the rest of the troop ... she is more of the stabilizing mother figure of the group.

She is not ready for Kelly's advances, as she is still nursing Glenda from time to time, and still being quite the "mom."
But, Kelly is fond of her, and will guard and protect her as seen in the following picture when some young men were grunting and beating their chests. He quickly stood guard over Rapunzel and then brought her around back where he could keep her safe.

Rapunzel's lineage goes back to wild born King Tut, who died October 6, 1987 at the Cincinnati Zoo, and wild born Penelope, who died May 3, 1989 at the Cincinnati Zoo, on her father's side. Rapunzel's father is Ramses I, born April 12, 1974 in Cincinnati, and who is living in Fort Worth Zoo. On her mother's side, her lineage goes back to wild born male Hatari, who died August 19, 1990 at the Chapultepec Zoo, and wild born female Mahari, who died November 14, 2002 at the Chapultepec Zoo. Her mother was their offspring Amani, born Jan 1, 1973 in Cincinnati. Amani is now located at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Anyway, if you get the chance, visit Rapunzel, and watch her. She is a very interesting gorilla with many layers. Don't judge her by first look, that is only one of her layers.

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