This is how a king-size gorilla shares his big day – with a 10th birthday party at the zoo where he was born.
Keepers at Bioparc Valencia zoo in southern Spain created a special fruit ‘cake’ for Ebo – named after a gorilla research project in Cameroon – packed with his favourite treats.
Ebo’s brothers Virunga, 6, Pepe, 4, and Felix, 3, along with silverback Mambie and females Ali, Nalani and Fossey, can all be seen tucking into the cake in the footage.
Of course, there is always one difficult guest and a juvenile gorilla can be seen in footage of the party trying to eat a paper decoration instead of the melon, banana and other tasty fruit.
Smaller primates can also be seen enjoying tasty morsels but the much larger gorillas do not seem to mind sharing.
Bioparc Valencia said in a statement on Wednesday, 26th October: “This very special ‘party’ symbolises 10 years of struggle and a victory for the conservation of this emblematic species in critical danger of extinction.
“Both the BIOPARC Foundation with its support for the Ebo Forest Research Project in Cameroon, as well as the parks of Valencia and Fuengirola with the breeding groups, are references in its protection.
“The whole group of gorillas has enjoyed the surprise and, especially, the appetising cake.”
Bioparc Valencia also said that Ebo is the first of the gorillas to have been born at the zoo.
The zoo explained: “After the milestone that the opening of what is considered one of the best animal parks in the world represented for Valencia, the birth in BIOPARC of the first gorilla in the Valencian Community meant a real event.
“The delicate baby represented the consolidation of the reproductive group of this critically endangered ape and, with it, the participation of the park in the necessary international ex situ conservation programme (EEP) of the Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) began to bear fruit.”
The zoo said that they took care to organise a proper party for the gorillas, saying: “This morning moments of great emotion have been experienced and relived in the celebration of Ebo’s 10th anniversary. The professional animal care team has taken pains to organise a real ‘birthday party’ for the whole gorilla family to enjoy the moment.”
The zoo explained that Ebo is named after the Ebo Forest Research Project in Cameroon, with the birthday symbolising “10 years of struggle and a great victory for this species in Africa”.
The zoo added that the Ebo forest is regularly threatened with disappearing altogether. The latest threat was a massive logging drive that was authorised in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the land was also set to be converted into palm oil plantations.
But the zoo said that thanks to international mobilisation and pressure from the Spanish government as well as itself, this logging drive was stopped.
Ebo is a Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), which is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).