Audubon Zoo entrance


female gorilla at audubon zooThe Audubon Zoo troop mirrors how gorillas structure their social groups in the wild, with a single adult male and multiple females.

The Western lowland gorilla, native to the rainforests of central Africa, is considered a critically endangered species due to poaching and a wild habitat that is gradually being encroached upon by industry.

Meet the Troop

  • Okpara: Nicknamed "Okie" is the only male. Okpara arrived in December 2017 from New England's Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, the result of a long-term, inter-zoo gorilla gender-matching plan overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The plan, known as the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, tracks the various personalities, genetics, and other traits of gorillas raised in captivity to determine which animals would make the best matches.
  • Tumani: An 12-year-old female moved to New Orleans in 2017 from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.
  • Praline: A 23-year-old female was the last gorilla born at Audubon Zoo.
  • Alafia: A 28-year-old female from the Los Angels Zoo is the newest member of the gorilla troop.

Come visit the new gorillas in the World of Primates at Audubon Zoo and to take your own steps to protect the species by recycling old cell phones and other electronics. The Western lowland gorilla's native habitat in Africa is shrinking due in part to the mining of a metallic ore called coltan, a key ingredient in manufacturing batteries, including the kind found in our phones.

Help wild gorillas by recycling your cell phones!

NOLA AAZK, our local chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, partners with an e-recycling company called Eco-Cell to collect and recycle unused cell phones or tablets. How are cell phones related to gorillas?

Coltan is a mineral found in the batteries of electronic devices. 80% of the world’s Coltan is mined in central Africa, which is wild gorilla habitat. Forests are being strip mined for this highly sought after mineral, with illegal mining even taking place in protected gorilla areas. BUT! Coltan is reusable! Clear out that old cell phone drawer! Our hope is, that the more and more electronic devices are recycled, this can slow demand for new Coltan to be mined in Africa.

Donating your CELL PHONE or TABLET at Audubon Zoo also helps gorillas in TWO ways! NOLA AAZK will sometimes receive a small payment for each shipment of recyclables and will then donate these funds directly back to gorilla conservation.