Matadi, the silverback gorilla with his impressive appearance, is the face of Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Antwerp (FMCCA) and the mascot of A Room with a ZOO. Handed out at conventions in FMCCA, our mascot – or at least his stuffed animal counterpart – travels the world: Matadi already joined our team at IBTM, AIPC and ECM (European Cities Marketing) Summer School.

A famous figure in the MICE industry

The birth of the baby gorilla happened at night, in the middle of the gorilla pack. The other gorillas reacted calm and curious. The mother, Mayani, fulfills her new role very well, while father Matadi does not leave her side. We don’t yet know if the baby is a boy or a girl, since Mayani is keeping her child very near to her at all times.

Over the last 2 years, Matadi became a famous figure in the MICE industry. He fulfilled his role as a breeding male very well. As western lowland gorillas are a seriously endangered species, with only 90000 animals left in nature. Matadi’s offspring is very important and welcome. The Antwerp ZOO and its ZOO Foundation play an important role in the breeding program for these endangered gorillas.

Every cent spent at A Room with a ZOO goes directly to our nature conservation programs worldwide. For example, the profits from the first congress after our first anniversary were paid to Congo’s Virunga National Park where our Belgian Prince Emmanuel de Merode puts his life on the line to protect gorilla’s – the brothers and sisters of Matadi.

Another program that is supported by A Room with a ZOO is the Grands Singes Project. The Center for Research and Conservation of the Antwerp ZOO, stationed in the south-west of Cameroon, has been doing scientific research there for over 15 years.

Illegal hunting is the biggest threat to the survival of wild chimpanzees and gorillas in this region. The research team protects the gorillas but also helps the local population to find alternatives to hunting, such as pig breeding or setting up cocoa plantations as alternative sources of income and alternatives to bushmeat for their own consumption.

Because of its endangered status, we are even more blessed with the birth of this wonderful baby gorilla. Be sure to visit the happy gorilla family during your stay at A Room with a ZOO.