PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Zoo holds birthday parties year round for many of its animals, not only to celebrate them, but to educate visitors about the importance of conservation.
Happy birthday Motuba! The silverback western lowland gorilla is 33 years old, and an apparent Eagles fan, with a football shaped birthday cake and green a white decorations all over the place.
He and his troop also enjoyed tearing open some presents.
Primate curator Michael Stern says events like this help teach visitors what we can do to help save threatened species.
“Climate change is affecting all of these wild animals all around the world, so when you recycle, when you turn off the lights when you are not in the room, when you use less water, you are helping all of these species all over the world just by doing your part to stem climate change,” said Stern.
The western lowland gorilla is listed as critically endangered in wild due to habitat loss, poaching, and Ebola.
“They are not doing very well in Africa, and why do we have them here at the zoo? To teach people about that,” said Stern. “Get them excited about how amazing these animals are and something like a birthday helps people identify with them and make them recognize how similar to us they really are. Really, animals that deserve to be protected and deserve our respect.”
And the message seems to be getting across, how reducing your carbon footprint can help save threatened species in the wild.
“When you are taking a shower you can not use too much water, you can turn off the lights, it’s just little things that make the world be a better place,” said 3rd grader Mercedes Webb.