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Today's Family Magazine

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo reveals name of first Cleveland-born gorilla

“Kayembe” (Kah-YEM-Bay), meaning “extraordinary,” is the name of the baby gorilla born October 26, 2021 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  The Zoo and Cleveland-based CrossCountry Mortgage (CCM) revealed the name following a three-week naming campaign in support of gorilla conservation through the Zoo’s longtime partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. “Kayembe” made history as the first gorilla born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in its 139 years.

The naming campaign received over 600 donations, raising nearly $15,000 for the Fossey Fund in Rwanda.  Named after conservation pioneer Dian Fossey, the Fossey Fund has been saving gorillas for more than 50 years.

“Kayembe has captured the hearts of so many with his extraordinary birth and story,” said Dr. Chris Kuhar, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo executive director.  

An exclusive social media video series created in partnership with CrossCountry Mortgage continues to follow the baby’s growth and development and has received more than 850,000 views.  At nearly four months old, Kayembe continues to be in nearly constant contact with surrogate mom, Freddy.  He recently reached a new developmental milestone when he began crawling and exploring his habitat within a few feet of mom.

Guests visiting Cleveland Metroparks Zoo can visit Kayembe and the gorilla troop at the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building daily between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Visit for more information.