News Release

May 9, 2014  



Brookfield Zoo Highlights Extraordinary Animal Moms for Mother’s Day

Brookfield, Ill.—This Mother’s Day, the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is celebrating two of its extraordinary animal moms—Tapeko, a 32-year-old bottlenose dolphin, and Koola, a 19-year-old western lowland gorilla.

The two moms have been extremely attentive to their young since their births. Koola gave birth to Nora on November 4, 2013. Guests who visit them in the zoo’s Tropic World: Africa exhibit will notice that Nora is showing more interest in her environment. While gaining more coordination with her movements, she is beginning to explore her surroundings and is even holding on to the vines in the exhibit. However, Koola makes sure her infant is still only an arm’s length away. When not exploring, Nora can often be seen playing with her mom and riding on her back as one of her favorite modes of transportation. Occasionally, under her watchful eye, Koola will allow her daughter Kamba, Nora’s 9-year-old half-sister, to carry Nora too.

Tapeko is a very experienced mom having raised five offspring, including her most recent, 7-month-old Merlin, who was born October 16, 2013. Since his birth, Tapeko has been extremely attentive toward him as she cares for him 24 hours a day seven days a week while animal care staff continue to monitor his growth and development. Most recently, Tapeko has been engaging Merlin in more play behavior, which he seems to enjoy. Although Tapeko and Merlin are currently not on exhibit, the public can check out the zoo’s website at for updates on their progress.

The Chicago Zoological Society inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for Brookfield Zoo's innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation.

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Sondra Katzen
Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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