Richard is the leader of the male lowland gorilla group that lives in the Méfou Center pavilion in the lower part of the Prague Zoo. His enchanting gaze has left an impression on many thousands of visitors of all generations over the past two decades. Photo by Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

The famous male gorilla Richard has lived in the Prague Zoo for 20 years. On Saturday, November 4, two decades will pass since the arrival of the silver-backed founder of the local breeding and the father of all gorilla cubs to date in the Prague Zoo. An extraordinary program has been prepared for this day in the Méfou Center pavilion – a presentation of gifts to Richard, commented meetings with the gorillas, and free thematic face painting for children’s visitors.

“Richard is the most famous animal personality of our zoo,” says the director of the Prague Zoo, Miroslav Bobek. “I got to know him thoroughly years ago on the set of the ‘slightly different reality show’ Revelations, and he made me realize that gorillas really are just slightly different people.

Richard is the epitome of a true animal ambassador for the wild. With his presence, a significant part of the public became interested in and contributed to the protection of gorillas. Let’s also not forget that Richard is the father of the first baby gorilla in our country – the famous Moji – and soon he will become a great-grandfather thanks to Moji’s daughter Duni.”

Moja’s ten-year-old daughter Duni, who traveled to the Prague Zoo from Cabárcena in Spain last September, is currently pregnant. If all goes well, she should give birth at the end of this year. With a bit of luck, the Prague Zoo will welcome its first baby gorilla in almost eight years. At the same time, it will be the first addition to the new breeding group led by male Kisum in the Dja Reserve pavilion.

Richard will be 32 years old on November 9. Among gorillas in human care, old age is not an issue, and Richard therefore has many active years ahead of him. Photo by Oliver Le Que, Prague Zoo

Richard continues to live in the original gorilla pavilion, at the Méfou Centre, together with his two sons. “Richard, Kiburi and Nuru form a kind of gentlemen’s club. It is a natural social structure that we call a youth group. Here, too, Richard fulfills the role of the dominant male and the group is more stable thanks to his presence,” explains head primate keeper Martin Vojáček. According to him, the famous male is enjoying a well-deserved rest. “Without the responsibility of a family group of females with cubs, Richard is noticeably calmer and more balanced,” she adds.

Richard was born on November 9, 1991 in Frankfurt am Main, which means that he is also approaching his 32nd birthday. He came to the Prague Zoo in November 2003 from Paignton, UK, and the following year Moja was born to him and the female Kijiva. A total of five of his descendants live today in the Prague Zoo or in other European gardens.

Richard is about 170 cm tall and the needle on the scale shows the same number of kilograms under his weight. His favorite foods include tomatoes, carrots, and special primate biscuits.

Saturday’s celebratory program at the Méfou Center
10.30 and 15.00 Presentation of a special “gift basket” to Richard and his sons
12.00, 13.00, 14.00 Commented meetings with gorillas
10.30–15.00 Free facepainting for children