A Fond Farewell to Beloved Gorilla Siblings at Detroit Zoo

A Fond Farewell to Beloved Gorilla Siblings at Detroit Zoo

A Fond Farewell to Beloved Gorilla Siblings at Detroit Zoo


A 20-Year Bond Formed in the Heart of the City

For two decades, Detroit Zoo has been home to a trio of inseparable gorilla ‘bachelors’.

Chipua “Chip,” Pendeka “Pende” and Kongo-Mbeli “Kongo”, half-brothers and popular zoo attractions, have endeared themselves to the hearts of visitors and staff alike.

Their impending departure marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new journey.

A Difficult Goodbye to the Beloved Brothers

Parting with these cherished apes isn’t easy. “Their departure is a bittersweet moment filled with fond memories of the past 20 years,” expressed the zoo via an emotional social media announcement.

The brothers will transition together to another zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This move, recommended by the AZA’s Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), aims to ensure their continued well-being and contribute to the overall survival of the species.

Celebrating with a Memorable Goodbye Party

In honor of the gorillas’ upcoming departure, Detroit Zoo is hosting a weekend-long farewell party on July 1-2. This event will feature habitat chats, storytelling, and special enrichment treats for the boys, all of which will take place at the Great Apes of Harambee habitat.

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Visitors will have the opportunity to contribute to gorilla conservation efforts by bringing in their old, broken, or unwanted cell phones for the Gorillas on the Line campaign.

This initiative refurbishes and sells recycled devices, the proceeds of which support gorilla conservation initiatives.

Anticipating a New Era in the Gorilla Habitat

Following the brothers’ departure, the Detroit Zoo plans to remodel the ape habitat, preparing it for the arrival of a new group of gorillas.

This change signifies a new chapter in the zoo’s commitment to gorilla conservation and ensuring the survival of this magnificent species.


As we bid goodbye to Chip, Pende, and Kongo, we celebrate their significant role in spreading awareness about gorilla conservation. Their new journey will ensure their well-being and make way for a new group of gorillas at Detroit Zoo.

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Lofton, Justine. “Detroit Zoo says goodbye to popular gorilla brothers.” MLive. June 29, 2023. MLive News Article