This month, I am sending another animal letter to my Compassion kids! This animal was on my list of creatures to write about for a while, but there is a very special reason I am writing about them now: our local zoo recently welcomed a baby gorilla! Her story starts out sad because the baby was delivered by emergency c-section, and the mother did not survive the surgery. I decided to go ahead and write my gorilla letter this week when the zoo announced an update on the baby's progress, and shared that she has a name. They were going to do a contest for naming her, but named her in honor of her mom. Mia Moja, the mother, was affectionately called "squirrel" by her keepers, so they named the baby Kindi, which is Swahili for squirrel! I think it's so precious, and the pictures are ADORABLE.
Here's a screenshot of the letter I sent:
And here is the text:
From time to time, I like to send letters about some of my favorite animals to my friends in other countries. Today I want to tell you about one of those animals- the gorilla. And I am going to share some interesting local news with you, as well!
There are several gorillas that live at my city's zoo. I still remember when we got them, when I was in grade 8. We stood in a queue for hours to see them in their new habitat. I was very excited at the time, and I still enjoy coming to see the gorillas. They are very large, majestic, and curious. I am thankful that last year, my aunt brought us on a special tour to meet the gorilla keepers and see what happens behind the scenes each day: how they are fed and cared for. There are two types of gorillas: mountain gorillas, which are very endangered, and lowland gorillas. We have lowland gorillas at our zoo. They are bigger than mountain gorillas. The males can be as tall as a human being, and weigh up to 180 kg! Gorillas may look dangerous, but they do not eat meat- they eat lots of leaves and roots. At the zoo, they also eat vegetables and fruits. These animals are also social- they live in family groups called "troops." The group is led by a male called a silverback- the black hair on his back turns silver! To communicate, gorillas make noises like grunting and chirping. They are also very smart- some gorillas have been taught to "talk" to humans through hand signals called sign language. The most famous of these gorillas is named Koko. When I was a little girl, I really liked reading about Koko. I borrowed books about her from the library very frequently.
My zoo had some exciting news recently, when they announced that one of the female gorillas was pregnant. Her name was Mia Moja. Sadly, last month, the baby gorilla was removed from the mother by surgery, and the mother died. The little baby gorilla is now an orphan who is constantly cared for by the zookeepers. They feed her a bottle of milk every 20 minutes or so. They hope that when she is bigger, she can be cared for by the other gorillas in the troop, but she is too small to live with them right now. It could be dangerous for her. This weekend, the zoo announced that the baby's name is Kindi, which means "squirrel" in Swahili. A squirrel is a type of rodent that we see in my country very often. The keepers called Mia Moja "squirrel" sometimes because she liked to hide her food, just like a squirrel hides the nuts it gathers for the winter. I am sending you a picture of baby Kindi. Isn't she cute?? It may seem strange, but will you please pray that baby Kindi grows up safe and strong? Everyone in my city wants her to grow up well!
I hope to hear from you again soon!
I also attached a gorilla coloring sheet to my letter! You can find it below, along with larger versions of the adorable pictures of baby Kindi!
You are welcome to copy some of the text of my letter to send your own- you could even edit it to talk about my zoo ("a zoo in my country....") if you'd like! I pulled the gorilla facts from my zoo's informational page on gorillas, which had quite a bit more info than I was able to fit in my letter.