Where are the Zoo's bachelor gorillas?

UPDATE (4/9/18): Additional X-ray imagery from Friday, April 6 showed continued healing and improvement in Bo’s leg. Depending on the weather and day, Bo has been with one of the other “bachelor” gorillas, George or Bakari, in the Great EscApe outdoor habitat area. They rotate so each gets time outside throughout the week and to spend time with Bo. Caretakers report that Bo is also going out for longer periods of time and tolerating that well. The vet team released him from a medical hold and caretakers are hoping to put all three troop mates together again once Bo is ready and can handle all the rowdy bachelor shenanigans!

UPDATE (3/2/18): Today, after a new round of X-rays showed continued healing in his leg, Bo was given solo time in the Great EscApe outdoor habitat area. This was his first time out since the break was discovered in mid-January. Bo has been responding well to his treatment and caretakers report he is displaying signs of progress and moving around more. Additional imagery will be taken next week and Bo’s status will be updated then. Stay tuned!

UPDATE (2/12/18): New imagery collected on Friday, February 9 shows Bo’s fracture is stabilizing and healing well. Zoo veterinary staff report that while the break is still visible on the x-ray, they see evidence of new bone growth bridging the fracture. As a result, caretakers are reducing Bo’s pain medication and allowing troop mate Bakari to join him for periods of time. These interactions will be closely monitored to ensure no rough play that might cause re-injury occurs. Veterinary staff estimate Bo will remain behind-the-scenes for at least another month as he continues to heal. Stay tuned to the Zoo’s blog and social media for additional updates.

Bouendje (Bo), 11, George, 14, and Bakari, 11, the OKC Zoo’s bachelor troop of Western lowland gorillas, are currently behind-the-scenes at the Zoo while Bo heals from a broken leg. George and Bakari will be next door to him to keep him company while he is healing.

Bo developed a limp in his left leg on December 13, so in order to get an X-ray of his leg, Zoo staff helped to construct a large PVC tube. It took the team only four days to train Bo to place his foot inside the tube. The resulting imagery revealed the break.

Zoo guests have asked why George and Bakari are also behind-the-scenes with Bo. This is because, much like people, gorillas live in groups, and these three have been together almost nonstop for five years. While Bo is separated to heal his leg, George and Bakari will remain together but they will have access to Bo through a mesh partition next door to him.

This mesh partition will help to decrease the stress levels of Bo, George and Bakari, as they are able to see, touch and observe each other through the day. There may be times where George and Bakari may have some time outside away from Bo, but they will have access to the back area so they can see him at all times. 

The current treatment plan is to provide Bo with rest in the behind-the-scenes area of the Great EscApe building where he can remain undisturbed, limiting the use of the injured leg while it heals. Bo will be closely monitored over the next weeks to ensure the break is repairing itself. Stay tuned to the Zoo’s blog and social media for updates.

 – Robin Newby, assistant curator, Great EscApe, & Dr. Gretchen Cole, associate veterinarian

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