DENVER (CBS4) – A family of western lowland gorillas recently moved from the Denver Zoo to the Jacksonville Zoo to help protect the critically endangered species. Zoo officials said the three gorillas will join a female gorilla in Jacksonville to grow their family.

(credit: Denver Zoo)

The Gorilla troop is made up of Jim, 31, Tinga, 14, and Whimsie, 3. Their move was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Gorilla Species Survival Plan. The plan aims to ensure a healthy, genetically-diverse population of gorillas in human care as wild populations decline in the face of mounting threats.

Great Apes Exhibit at the Denver Zoo (credit: CBS)

The Denver Zoo is still home to bachelor gorillas Charlie, 23, and Curtis, 24. Zoo officials said having one troop in Great Apes rather than two will allow the animal care team to better train the gorillas to participate in their own medical care.

Western lowland gorilla, while more numerous than other gorilla species, are still critically endangered. According to zoo officials, their primary threats include logging, agriculture and poaching through their native ranges in Africa.

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