We promised you an update, and, though Leonel is still behind the scenes, he has certainly been making strides toward adjusting to his new life at Woodland Park Zoo.
Hugh Bailey, lead keeper for the gorilla unit says that Leonel has adapted "better than expected" to his new situation. "He had a lot to get used to," remarked Bailey, saying that Leo has become comfortable with a host of new sounds including the roar of nearby lions, and new people.
Leo is also getting used to new gorillas in his life. Due to the nature of gorilla social dynamics, the keepers are proceeding slowly with introductions, beginning with visual introductions and seeing how this plays out before going to the next steps of physical introductions. "We really do this at their pace; they need time to get used to one another before they meet face-to-face."
Bailey notes that Leonel's first sightings of "the girls," the female members of his new group, were pretty much the results that were expected. He displayed with a variety of typical male gorilla actions that are part of "showing you're a tough guy," according to Bailey.
For now, the 341-pound gorilla and his potential female group mates continue to woo each other while keepers stage the next steps in his journey toward acceptance into his new family.
Photo courtesy of Zoo de Granby, Leonel's former home.