Mpungu (1877), from: The Royal Natural History (1893-94)

The drawing shows various postures of Mpungu, a two year old male gorilla who was caught in the wild and arrived in Berlin on June 26, 1876. He was the first1 gorilla ever to be brought abroad alive and, like many others later on, did not survive long in captivity. After being lended out to London and Hamburg Zoo, he died on November 13, 1877 from "consumptiveness", an expression for a lung disease at that time.

His story is told in the 2013 book "Master Pongo - Ein Gorilla erobert Europa" by Mustafa Haikal.


1 The first gorilla actually reached England in 1855 but was exhibited as a chimpanzee in George Wombwell's Travelling Menagerie. Jenny survived a few months before dying of pneumonia in Scarborough in March 1856. The dead creature was promptly sold to Charles Waterton, an eccentric naturalist-cum-taxidermist. Waterton was fond of creating fanciful "nondescripts" from assemblages of animal parts, and so Jenny’s skin was altered and stuffed to form a hideous horned simian sculpture titled – for Waterton was an ardent Catholic – "Martin Luther After His Fall". But what the menagerie had been touring with was not a chimpanzee at all. Later examination revealed that Jenny was a juvenile gorilla. The remains of the first gorilla to live outside Africa now survive only as a bizarre taxidermic joke in the Waterton Collection at the Wakefield Museum in Yorkshire.

See a drawing of Jenny, or listen to her story.

Please note

This website features genealogical charts and "family trees" for gorilla groups in zoos, as well as traditional family trees for some exceptionally remarkable individuals.

All charts and trees are updated on a regular basis.
However, when you follow a link be sure to also read the latest comments as they may contain additional information not yet reflected in the chart itself.

New charts are added frequently, so please check the pages for your favorite zoo occasionally.

Also, check out the Links with lots of useful websites about gorillas, both in the wild and in captivity.