Colo

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Colo was the first gorilla born in captivity. Colo was born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on December 22, 1956.

On December 22, 1956, a very special gorilla was born at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Colo, a Western lowland gorilla, became the first gorilla to be born in captivity. She was born to Millie (also known as Christina) and Baron Macombo (Mac for short) who were captured by "Gorilla Bill" Said, of Bexley, Ohio, in an area of Africa then known as French Cameroon. Millie and Mac arrived in New York on December 22, 1950, during a snowstorm with no planned destination!! Mr. Said, called his friend, Columbus Zoo Superintendent Earl Davis, who agreed to take the gorillas in the emergency. Millie and Mac arrived in Columbus on January 8, 1951.

Such a small baby (she weighed just 3.75 lbs. and measured only 15 inches long) had a profound affect on the zoo world. Colo's birth enabled the Columbus Zoo to demonstrate that gorillas could have babies in captivity and to contribute the information that Millie's gestation period was about 250 days-an important fact at a time when very little was known about gorillas.

Colo is also special for several other reasons. She gave birth to Emmy, the first second-generation gorilla born in captivity and became a grandmother when Cora, the first third-generation gorilla, was captive born. For ten years, Colo's grandsons, Mosuba and Macombo II, were the only gorilla twins born in the western hemisphere! Colo is also the great grandmother of Timu, the first surviving infant gorilla conceived by artificial insemination.

Thanks to Colo, the Columbus Zoo is recognized worldwide as a leader in gorilla breeding, care, habitat, and conservation. In addition, Columbus is one of the zoos that led the way in creating enclosures that simulate a gorilla's natural environment, allowing them to live more fulfilling lives and enlarging human understanding of their intelligence and gentle dispositions. At a time when gorilla populations in the wild are severely threatened, 30 gorillas (and counting!) have been born at the Columbus Zoo.

See Also