Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s baby gorilla Kayembe celebrates 1st birthday

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s baby gorilla Kayembe is celebrating his first birthday Wednesday!

Kayembe made history as the first gorilla born at the Zoo in its 140 years, and to commemorate the occasion, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has launched its first children’s book.

“Baby K’s Big Day” celebrates Kayembe’s birth in the hopes of “building connections with and conservation of this amazing and critically endangered species.”

“Kayembe has captured the hearts of so many with his extraordinary birth and story,” says Cleveland Metroparks Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. “To see how the public has connected with the gorilla troop underscores the importance of our conservation efforts and the need to protect them in the wild.”

The Zoo said that proceeds of the book will support the construction of Kayembe and his troop’s future home in their upcoming Primate Forest habitat.

“Baby K’s Big Day” is available today for purchase at Cleveland Metroparks Nature Shops and at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for $9.99, as well as online.

Guests are invited to Kayembe’s birthday celebration Wednesday at noon in the Primate, Cat and Aquatics building.

Kayembe and his troop will receive special birthday treats, and guests will have the opportunity to sign a giant birthday card for him.

The Zoo’s animal care experts will be onsite talking about what it takes to care for their gorillas.

You can plan your visit now at

Maddi Hebebrand

Maddi Hebebrand

Maddi joined Cleveland 19 News as a Digital Content Producer in May 2022.