Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoological Society is seeking a sponsor to help pay for a shelter structure at the N.C. Zoo's Gorilla Exhibit that would include the right to name the Zoo's new baby gorilla born just last week.

The Zoo Society, the non-profit support organization for the North Carolina Zoo, is searching for a $100,000 contribution to construct a shelter over one of the visitor overlooks at the half-acre Forest Glade gorilla habitat in the park's African exhibit region.
The gorilla exhibit has two viewing areas, one already covered to provide both gorillas and visitors with protection from the elements as well as summer shade and heating elements in winter. But a second, larger overlook is unprotected.

According to zoo officials, adding a second shade structure will ensure that two new gorilla babies born in August and their moms can always find a comfortable place to sit and be close to visitors.

On Friday, August 31, the zoo saw the birth of its second baby gorilla in less than a month. "Olympia," a 16-year-old female, gave birth around 7 p.m. Friday to a four-pound male infant. Four weeks earlier the zoo had its first successful gorilla birth in 23 years when "Jumani," age 12, also gave birth to a healthy male baby named "Bomassa" by keepers. The father of both newborns is 19-year-old "Nkosi".

While it is zoo tradition for keepers to name baby animals, the need for the overlook shelter provided a special opportunity for a potential sponsor, according to Cheryl Turner, interim executive director for the Zoo Society. The donor would also be recognized in signage at the gorilla exhibit and the zoo entrance.

Interested individuals can contact Turner for more information at the 336-879-7284 or by email at The sponsorship will be recognized as a donation to Zoo Society, a 501(c)3 private non-profit.
The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.