Abstract # 8000 Poster # 56:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (National Ballroom AB) Poster Presentation


S. Evans1,2, E. Provis3 and J. Bering3
1DuMond Conservancy, Miami, FL 33170, USA, 2Florida International University, Miami, USA, 3University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

The number of wild born apes that were imported into the USA prior to the passing of the Endangered Species Act (1973) is dwindling rapidly. King, a male, western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) is estimated to being close to 50 years old (Sharon DuMond, personal communication). While the details surrounding his importation remain unknown, we have documented his early history as a juvenile through conversations and electronic communication with several former circus employees and circus aficionados. King initially performed as part of a stage act in Las Vegas (until 1974) and subsequently became a circus performer at Hoxie Brothers Circus where he was given the stage name Mongo. He was purchased by Monkey Jungle, a small commercial zoo in Miami, from Hoxie Tucker in 1979 and it was immediately apparent that King understood a considerable amount of spoken English (eventually he became bilingual by adding Spanish to his language skills). Because of his history as an entertainer, King was easily trained to perform specific behaviors which were initially incorporated into educational performances for the visiting public. Later they were used to investigate his cognitive abilities including shape and color discrimination, mirror-recognition and his capacity for episodic memory. King is studbook #708 and his training at Monkey Jungle was supported by an American Society of Primatologists conservation award to Lisa Paciulli, 1989.