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Bristol Zoo gorillas get $1.6M home upgrade and a pool

Baby gorilla Kukena takes some of his first steps as he ventures out of his enclosure at Bristol Zoo's Gorilla …
The western lowland gorilla family at the Bristol Zoo in the United Kingdom is climbing the social ladder of the primate world with a spacious new home featuring an indoor pool and a glass entrance.

Jock, a 30-year-old silverback, and his six other family members, including 2-year-old Kukena, lived in the enclosure while builders expanded it to double the size of their old gorilla house, according to a release from the Bristol Zoo.

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Building a house in the company of a 448 pound gorilla is complicated, the zoo wrote in a release, and at first the animals were nervous but they relaxed and began to watch their new human companions after a couple of weeks.

The zoo uploaded a video of one of the gorillas spinning merrily in the new house while clinging to a rope.

The new enclosure is worth more than $1.6 million and the glass atrium is great for roly polys, young Kukena has discovered.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Bristol Zoo's baby gorilla Kukena looks out from his mother Salome arms at Bristol Zoo’s Gorilla Island on May 4, 2012 in Bristol, England. The seven-month-old western ... more 
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Bristol Zoo's baby gorilla Kukena looks out from his mother Salome arms at Bristol Zoo’s Gorilla Island on May 4, 2012 in Bristol, England. The seven-month-old western lowland gorilla is starting to find his feet as he learns to walk having been born at the zoo in September. Kukena joins a family of gorillas at the zoo that are part of an international conservation breeding programme for the western lowland gorilla, which is a critically endangered species. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) less 
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Getty Images | Photo By Matt Cardy / Getty Images
Fri, 4 May, 2012 7:26 AM EDT
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Zoo staff told the BBC they wanted to give the growing gorilla family "first class" accommodations, paid for in part by an auction of painted gorilla statues. The public can view the gorillas in their new home starting on Saturday and more renovations will take place until 2014.


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