Higashiyama Zoo -

Ai

Ai is the second wife of Shabani. She was born on February 27, 2003 at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Her father was Rikki and her mother is Nene. At 9 yrs old she gave birth to a baby who died soon after. This baby was never named. The father was Shabani. Female gorillas are sexually mature at around 7 to 8 years of age. However, they do not usually reproduce until they are 10 years old. It is possible that Ai was too young to have a baby but we will never know.

On June 2, 2013 she gave birth to a female gorilla who was named Annie. Annie was named by combining the names “Ai” and “Shabani”. Unfortunately, Ai failed to properly take care of Annie. The zoo removed Annie from the troop to be raised by the staff. On May 2, 2014 Ai and Annie were reunited in a room by themselves which had a small door for Annie to pass through to and from her private room.[22] Ai and Annie were allowed to bond alone until October 20, 2014 when they moved in Shabani.[23] The whole troop was finally reunited on November 10, 2014.

Even though Ai failed to raise Annie, she is very close to Kiyomasa who is her half brother. She treats him like he is her son, carrying him around, sharing her food. He has even taken food right out of her mouth without her complaining. This is unheard of for a young gorilla to take food out of the mouth of an older gorilla. Ai is pretty laid back. She doesn’t seem to stress much which is likely why Shabani makes Nene chase him instead of Ai. Ai is not known to mate with Shabani often if at all. However, they seem to have a more platonic relationship. They have been video taped snuggling together, holding hands, touching each other, etc.

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