THE SNOW may have forced Belfast Zoo to temporarily close its doors this week but it couldn’t freeze the fun of one resident.
Despite a series of weather warnings over the weekend, the attraction managed to stay open on Monday.
However, when the city was blanketed by snow overnight, it was unable to open to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday and remains closed today due to the wintry weather.
The weather proved no obstacle for Gugas, Belfast Zoo’s silverback gorilla, who was captured by staff on Tuesday making snowballs.
Western lowland gorillas are typically found in the hot and humid conditions of rainforests but Gugas seemed right at home as he scooped up snow and patted it in his hands.
“Our silverback Gugas has been making the most of the snow and has been out making snowballs,” the zoo posted on social media.
The video has since been viewed almost 200,000 times across the zoo’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Gugas, the leader of Belfast Zoo’s gorilla group, has flourished since arriving at the facility in 1998 following a difficult start in life.
It is believed he was born in the wild but that both of his parents were killed for bushmeat.
After being smuggled into Portugal by a circus, Gugas was then found abandoned at the gates of Lisbon Zoo.
He arrived in Belfast after being cared for at a specialist gorilla nursery in Stuttgart Zoo, where he was socialised with other gorillas.
Research suggested that Gugas would be unable to father any offspring due to his poor start to life.
However, the 28-year-old silverback has grown into a very impressive male during his time in Belfast, producing four babies — Baako, Kibibi, Olivia and Kofi.