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Audubon Zoo welcomes new silverback gorilla 'Okie'

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NEW ORLEANS- The Audubon Zoo has welcomed a new member to its primate family: Okpara.

Affectionately known as "Okie," this 24-year-old male will play an integral role in the plan to strengthen his critically endangered species.

Okie is silverback gorilla whose previous home was in Boston at Franklin Park Zoo.

Franklin Park Zoo and Audubon Zoo are active participants in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, which helps protect the survival of the species.

Since early December, Okie has resided in veterinary care as a standard quarantine protocol to ensure that he doesn't bring any health-related problems to existing animals at Audubon.

Okie is joining another recent arrival, Tumani, a 10-year-old female Western lowland gorilla from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. He'll also be joining another female named Praline.

Courtney Eparvier, Audubon's primate curator, says Okie is adapting well to his new environment.

"He's a very boisterous silverback and has quite a large personality," she said. "He's not shy at all."

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