Gorilla to make the move from Boston to New Orleans

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Western lowland gorilla_735214

A silverback Western lowland gorilla moves through its habitat at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG aquarium on Thursday, April 16, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

BOSTON (AP) — A resident of the Franklin Park Zoo is moving to Louisiana in hopes of starting his own family.

Zoo New England, which operates the 72-acre Boston zoo, announced Friday that a 24-year-old western lowland gorilla named Okpara, or Okie, is being transferred to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. It’s part of an inter-zoo program known as the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, which is coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help ensure the survival of selected species.

Zoo New England President John Linehan says “careful thought and planning” goes into the recommendations for transfers. He says Okie’s move is “bittersweet,” but “it is important for him to start his own family, which contributes to the preservation of this species.”

A farewell party is planned Nov. 18.

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