Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Willie B., the King Kong of the Atlanta Zoo

Above - Willie B. and baby.

I am still scanning old 35mm negatives of pictures that I have long ago gave away, misplaced, or sorted the prints into nothingness.

Today, most of the pictures were at the Atlanta Zoo. I came across a bunch I had taken of the Lowland gorilla Willie B., in the outside section of the primate compound of the Atlanta Zoo. It was in the spring time when I took these pictures, I know, because on the same negative group are pictures of Rocky and Adam opening looking at their Easter Baskets on Easter morning.

I did a quick mini-Google-mini research on Willie B. I already knew he was named after the Mayor of Atlanta, William B. Hartsfield, who was a driving force of getting Willie B. to the Zoo Atlanta.

Before the primates had an outside area I remember seeing Willie B. sitting in his large cage, looking terribly bored and discontent with only a tire swing and a TV to keep him pacified. I saw him pound his mighty fist on the floor while sitting on the floor. I also saw him look disgustingly at gawking humans. It was a sad sight.

Willie B. (c1959 – 2000). I think Willie B. was born in the wild but captured and taken from his parents when he was just a little thing. He lived by himself, so to speak, with no other of his same specie for 27 years.

If I remember correctly, the zoo landscaped him a huge area where he could sit in a natural sitting and muse all day, with occasionally eating an apple or some other fruit. He made eating an apple look so delicious the way he would bite into it and you could here the crunch and the juice fly.

In time the zoo acquired two female adult gorillas. I think the two females had two distinct personalities… one was timid and the other was aggressive that would chase Willie B. around, looking for a little “action”, so to speak.

Willie B. did the gentlemanly thing and mated with both females. And between the three of them, five baby gorillas were born, four females and one male.

At that time, he sat a record for the being the oldest male gorilla in captivity to father children.

Did anybody see two young men with white shirts and black ties pedal their bikes up by the primate area and throw some literature pamphlets over the fence?

The one male was named Kidogo, who’s name was changed to Willie B., Jr. after his father’s death.

Below are the pictures that I took of Willie B. and his family. Above notice that Willie B. lovingly holds his offspring with no problem

Willie B. was destined to be a family man.

I don't know gorilla talk but I do know a little about Universal Body Language - The picture above Willie B. is definitely saying, "Up Yours!"

Labels: , ,


Blogger kenju said...

You got some very good pix of him, Eddie. We had a silver back at our zoo, but he is gone now.

8:04 PM  
Blogger ET said...

I like to watch gorillas. They act more human than humans.

3:25 AM  
Blogger deborah wilson said...


I remember going to the Atlanta Zoo when I was a kid and seeing Willie B. in his cage with his t.v. It seemed so cruel...

Now the Zoo is so much better with the natural habitats.

But unless an animal is endangered, I hate to see animals penned up for long periods of time - it's not natural. It's sad to know that Willie B. sat in that cage for all of those years - at least the habitats were built in time for him to experience something good in life before he left us.

12:04 PM  
Blogger ET said...



12:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

hit counter script