In the 37 years that Snowflake lived in Barcelona Zero, he formed his own family, a numerous one made up of 21 children and seven grandchildren, of which some continue to live in Barcelona Zoo and others in zoos around the world.
Snowflake was a very prolific male, in spite of the fact that many male gorillas living in zoos at that time suffered from sterility. Snowflake had 21 children with three different females: seven with Ndengue, nine with Bimvili and five with Yuma. Of these, five have survived: a male, Bindung (transferred to Fukuoka Zoo, Japan) and four females: Ntao, Kena, Machinda and Virunga. Infant mortality rates are very high among gorillas, also in the wild, as a result of various illnesses and accidents.
One of the curiosities of this family is that in 1981, twin female babies were born, the daughters of Snowflake and Bimvili. One of these survived (Kena), while the other baby died two weeks after its birth as a result of respiratory problems. When it was born, this baby had been much smaller than normal. Twin births in gorillas and chimpanzees are very unusual events, and have only been reported in a very few cases, both in captivity and in the wild.
In 1973, Snowflake's first child with Ndengue was born; named Edú, he died a few days after birth. The last child Snowflake fathered was born in November 1986.
In 1999, Snowflake's first two granddaughters were born: Nimba and Batanga. Their mothers, Snowflake's daughters, had been raised on feeding bottles, and so they did not know how to suckle their daughters, to the extent that the babies' lives were at risk. As a result, the two little gorillas spent the first few months of their lives in the Zoo's nursery, after which it was decided that they should be introduced into the white gorilla's group. From the very start, Snowflake played the role of grandfather; he accepted the baby gorillas and protected them and showed them how baby gorillas had to behave with adult gorillas. After the two baby gorillas arrived in the group, Snowflake became livelier, more active and friendly and communicative with his keepers.
In April 2002, a new granddaughter, Muni (who had been born two years previously) was introduced into her grandfather's group. From the very beginning, Snowflake behaved like an adoptive father – protective, affectionate and much more tolerant with her than with the other babies. And so, Muni became Snowflake's favourite granddaughter, the apple of his eye.
Currently living in Barcelona Zoo
Machinda: born in 1978, daughter of Snowflake and Bimvili.
Xebo: born in 1985 in Rotterdam Zoo, arrived at Barcelona Zoo in 1996.
Batanga: born in 1999, daughter of Kena and Xebo.
Muni: born in 2000, daughter of Machinda and Xebo.
Ntua: born in 2006, daughter of Xebo and Virunga
Babule: born in 2010, daughter of Xebo and Machinda
Living in other zoos
Bindung: born in 1981, son of Snowflake and Yuma, lives in Fukuoka Zoo, Japan.
Mayani: born in 2001, daughter of Machinda and Xebo, lives in Dublin Zoo, Ireland.
Kivu: born in 2002, son of Machinda and Xebo, sent to Stuttgart Zoo, Germany.
Kiondo: born in 2002, son of Kena and Xebo, sent to Stuttgart Zoo, Germany.
Kena: born in 1981, daughter of Snowflake and Bimvili, lives in Blackpool Zoo.
Coco: arrived at the zoo in 1995, seized from illegal traders, born in Guinea Ecuatorial, probably two years previously, sent to Madrid Zoo.
Nimba: born in 1999, daughter of Machinda and Xebo, lives in Arnhem Zoo.
Ndowe: born in 2003, son of Xebo and Kena, lives in Paignton Zoo.
Kera: born in 2004, daughter of Xebo and Kena, sent to Stuttgart Zoo.