These captive gorilla parents are mourning the death of their newborn baby

She was just six days old. She didn’t have a name yet. And she was heralded as the shining hope for her rapidly-disappearing subspecies, the western lowland gorillas. But then, less than a week after she was born, this newborn baby passed away at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. This is a huge blow to both her heartbroken parents, as well as to her entire community, since western lowland gorillas are labeled “critically endangered.” Their populations have plummeted by more than 80 percent, and it’s all due to human activity — such as poaching, habitat destruction for houses, and logging. In theory, this is why zoos exist: to “conserve” precious species. But clearly that theory isn’t panning out at the Audubon Zoo.

No new gorillas have been born at the Audubon Zoo in 24 years, and of the facility’s four current gorillas, three were acquired from other zoos over the past three years. Zoos exploit animals, stuffing them into enclosures far too small to adequately mimic their natural habitats in order to attract paying visitors. Even worse, these menageries rip apart families — such as when another Audubon gorilla, Alafia, was traded away from her own baby at the Seattle Zoo. It’s clear that zoos, including the Audubon, aren’t living up to their mission of helping endangered wildlife. Demand that the remaining gorillas at the Audubon Zoo be transferred to a reputable sanctuary where they can live out their days in peace!

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