News Biodiversity

Is it a boy? Or is it a girl?

Even habituated gorillas remain wild animals and can only be observed from a distance. That's why trying to identify the sex of a juvenile gorilla is like a game of chance, and even trained observers can hardly get more than a fifty percent hit rate.

First of all, because in their first two years of life, the young gorillas mainly cling to their mother’s back – a posture that reveals absolutely nothing. When the offspring then starts to climb and romp around, you not only need an infinite amount of patience, but also great luck to catch a revealing glimpse through the binoculars. Nevertheless, you can’t be completely sure at a distance.

Only a genetic analysis can bring clarity, but this requires some effort.

Shelly Masi from the French State Natural History Museum, who has been researching in Dzanga-Sangha for many years, and her team collected samples from several young animals from the three habituated gorilla groups last year. They brought them to Paris for analysis and – big surprise! –

Inguka and Inganda, the two twins, now six years old, who we thought were cheeky boys all along, turned out to be female!
Who cares – as long as there is offspring!


But no matter the sex – most importantly  we do have offspring, because for us every gorilla is a gift and a sign of hope!


The youngest is currently Bokonya, born on 6 September 2021 in the Mayele group.

The BaAka trackers chose the name,  after the tree under which they found the newborn in the arms of its mother Duma – fortunately the name fits both sexes. In the meantime, Bokonya shows a lot of interest in its big sister Kenga. She sometimes sits next to it when the little one is fed by its mother, and then Bokonya strokes her head. So Bokonya has the best prospects of growing up sheltered – also thanks to your sponsorship.

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