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Saint Louis Zoo says goodbye to gorilla

Zoo officials said they’re sad to see Nadaya go, but they’re excited about what’s to come for him.

ST. LOUIS — The Saint Louis Zoo said goodbye to one of its residents in hopes of helping its species for years to come.

Western lowland gorilla Nadaya safely arrived at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, last week. Zookeepers decided to move him as part of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The breeding program takes into account an animal’s personality and genetics when deciding where the animal might have the best opportunity to create a family.

Nadaya has lived with a “bachelor” group of male gorillas since arriving at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2011 with his half-brother Bakari. In Seattle, he’ll join a group of adult female western lowland gorillas, where zookeepers are hoping he’ll start a family of his own.

Zoo officials said they’re sad to see Nadaya go, especially the Primate Care Team, but they’re excited about what’s to come for him.

“Nadaya is an amazing gorilla, and we are excited he will have the opportunity to have a family of his own,” said the Saint Louis Zoo’s curator of primates Heidi Hellmuth. “This move is really about the long-term success of this critically-endangered species, but we also know it is the start of a new, exciting chapter for Nadaya.”

Nadaya’s move could help his critically endangered species. The zoo said western lowland gorillas are facing the threat of extinction in the wild.

With Nadaya’s departure, Saint Louis Zoo visitors can still see a bachelor group of gorillas at Jungle of the Apes.

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