By Wanda Wierzbicki

In December 2020, we said goodbye to Josephine, the 49-year-old Western Lowland Gorilla. Josephine was one of the few remaining original residents at the Toronto Zoo, having lived here since 1974. She was a much-loved and respected member of her troop. She had given birth to five offspring while at the zoo and was grandmother to five grandchildren at zoos throughout North America.

Josephine was one of the oldest gorillas living in zoos in North America. According to National Geographic, the average lifespan for a Western Lowland Gorilla in the wild is 35 years. She had a big personality and made her keepers laugh with her antics. Her legacy lives on in her offspring, one of whom, Johari, still lives at the Toronto Zoo.

In December 2020, we said hello to the newest member of the Grevy’s Zebra family. The 52 kg male foal was born to mother Tori and dad Jake after a 13-month gestation period. Grevy’s are the largest wild mammal in the horse family. They are listed as endangered; the wild population currently numbers only 3,000. Habitat loss, competition with livestock and poaching are their primary threats.  The Toronto Zoo is taking part in the Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan (SSP) and continues to support field conservation efforts for the species, which is native to Kenya and Ethiopia. 

Following tradition, “BBZeeBee” will be named after a Star Wars character. Tori’s three previous foals are named Leia, Rey and Obi. Check the zoo website to see what name the public choses.

Although the Toronto Zoo is closed to foot traffic, there are still ways to connect to the animals. Tune into the Toronto Zoo Life Brizi Cam. There are cameras on the gorillas, the giraffes and the penguins.  The camera is on Monday to Friday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.  Check the schedule on the website to see which animal is featured and when.  You can also join Facebook Live at 1 pm daily.  See  for details.