BOSTON (AP) — A Boston zoo held a farewell party for a beloved gorilla that’s heading to another zoo in New Orleans to start his own family.

Officials at the Franklin Park Zoo on Saturday celebrated Okpara, a 24-year-old male Western lowland gorilla affectionately called

okie in front of goodbye sign Zoo Hosts Farewell Party For Beloved Gorilla

“Okie” the gorilla. (Photo credit: Franklin Park Zoo)

He will soon be heading to the Audubon Zoo in Louisiana.

The Boston zoo invited patrons to sign a farewell card, enjoy free cake and learn about gorilla conservation.

Okie’s move is part of the zoo’s participation in the national Gorilla Species Survival Plan, an inter-zoo program meant to ensure survival of the species.

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. They’re found in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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