Asheboro, NC – Construction will begin later this month to renovate and expand the North Carolina Zoo’s gorilla exhibit, paving the way for additional gorillas to join the five who already reside at the zoo.

Once renovations are completed, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) has recommended the transfer of three gorillas from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., to the North Carolina Zoo. Those gorillas include an adult male, an adult female and her four-year-old grandson.

They would join Bomassa and Apollo, the zoo’s two-year-old male gorillas, their mothers, Jamani and Olympia, and another female, Acacia. Keeping gorilla families together is considered critical for the well-being of the animals.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to enhance the zoo experience for our visitors by adding more gorillas to our habitat,” said Dr. David Jones, director of the zoo. “Besides being a zoo favorite, the gorilla habitat helps us to educate people about our conservation efforts in Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda, which benefits not just gorillas but many other animals.”  

To prepare for the construction project, all gorillas have been moved off exhibit and the gorilla habitat is closed until renovations are finished. Depending on the weather, construction on the habitat is expected to be completed by mid-summer.

The zoo is open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas), offering 500 acres of exhibits with special events year round. Visit for more information.

The North Carolina Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.