ASHEBORO- "Jamani," a 10-year-old female gorilla, arrived at the North Carolina Zoo Wednesday evening from the San Diego Zoo.

Jamani is the first of two female gorillas slated for transfer to the N.C. Zoo early this year as part of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, a cooperative program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums aimed at improving the captive care and breeding of these highly endangered great apes. "Acacia," a 15-year-old from the Oklahoma City Zoo, will be arriving in early February.

Jamani arrived via cargo jet at Piedmont Triad International Airport around 6 p.m. Wednesday and was transported by truck to Asheboro, where she settled into quarantine facilities at the N.C. Zoo's Hanes Veterinary Medical Center. All new primates arriving at the zoo are required to go through a lengthy quarantine period before being introduced to their exhibits.

The N.C. Zoo lost three female gorillas to medical problems during 2009, including two to cancer in late December. The transfers of Jamani and Acacia were approved earlier by the Gorilla SSP and are not related to the loss of the other two animals. The two new females will eventually join 18-year-old male "Nkosi" in the zoo's outdoor Forest Glade gorilla habitat.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor.