Teenager leaves home
Likalé, the rebellious gorilla teen, has been kicked out of the house. He has been moved to a zoo in France that is home to two young females. There, Likalé can become the resident stud and develop into an adult silverback.
In his last months at Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem, the Netherlands, where Likalé was born, this western lowland gorilla had been exhibiting rebellious behaviour towards the leader of the group, the adult females and their young. This provocative behaviour also occurs in the wild. Usually it eventually spurs a decisive confrontation with the leader of the group, the silverback, after which the younger male is driven out of the group. The young male then roams about for a few years until he is strong enough to gather a harem of his own. Sometimes the males seek each other out and form a bachelor group.
A zoo usually opts to seek a new home for an adolescent male long before a true confrontation would occur. Such a search involves close consultation with the coordinator of the European breeding programme for western lowland gorillas. Because Likalé is, from a genetic standpoint, very important to the European breeding programme, the move was arranged when he began to exhibit pubescent behaviour. He is now a resident of the zoo in Saint Martin la Plaine (Department Loire), and will be getting acquainted with the young females there, Digit and Jade.