Today in 1956, at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, the first baby gorilla to be born in captive was delivered. The baby gorilla weighing roughly 4 pounds is of the western lowland subspecies and daughter of Millie and Mac, two gorillas caught in Cameroon, Africa and before they were moved to the Columbus Zoo in 1951.
The name "Colo" was the combination of Columbus and Ohio. Prior to Colo's birth, gorillas were captured in the wild, often through ruthless means before they were transferred to zoos. It is not easy to catch a gorilla when it is young especially when it is still very young and will be able to control therefore hunters had to kill the gorilla's parent and other relatives.
Gorillas are of African origin and are known that live in the forest of central Africa, and are known to be peaceful, smart creatures, that live in small groups called troops and led by one grown-up male, known as a silverback. There are three subspecies of gorilla namely the western gorilla, eastern gorilla and mountain gorilla. The subspecies have a somehow stricken resemblance and the larger percentage of gorillas in captivity is western lowland. Gorillas are herbivorous, and their main enemy are humans who hunt them. It is reported that a gorilla lives up to 35 years in the wild and 50 years in captivity on the average.
During the time that Colo was born, captive gorillas were not able to learn parenting skills from their parent therefore, the Columbus Zoo had to device a means to make sure Colo turned out well by building a nursery and then reared by zookeepers. Ever since the birth of Colo, zookeepers have created environments that replicate a gorilla's natural habitat, allowing captive-born gorillas to be fully raised by their mothers. However, in situations whereby the programs does not work, some zoos have created surrogacy programs that allow infant gorillas to be taken care by humans and after that handed back to other gorillas to raise
Colo grew to become a mother, grandmother, and in 1996, became a great-grandmother to Timu, who was the first surviving child to be born of artificial insemination. In 2003, Timu delivered her first baby.
At present, about 750 gorillas are in captivity around the world, while another estimated 100,000 lowland gorillas and some mountain gorillas are still at large in the wild. In addition, almost all the zoos are active in captive-breeding programs and have decided not to buy any gorilla born in the wild. In addition, after Colo's birth, another 30 gorillas has been born at the Columbus Zoo.