Come see the gorillas at Dewar Wildlife in the north GA mountains!

Real Estate Agent with Murphy and Hayesville, NC; Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge GA and Copperhill TN

Joe at Dewar Wildlife in Morganton, GAWe attended a very special birthday at Dewar Wildlife in the north GA mountains today for Joe. At 49 years old, Joe is the third oldest male gorilla in a zoo setting and is Dewar Wildlife's iconic resident. Joe started life in Cameroon, Africa and has spent time in several zoos in the USA, but came to this wildlife facility in 2003 and in Joes 49th Birthday Fruit Cake at Dewar Wildlifespite of his advanced age, enjoys tour visitors and the tranquility of the North Georgia Mountains. He certainly didn’t mind our group of 13 joining him in his Villa for his fruit birthday cake either!

Dewar Wildlife (DW) is an advanced holding facility situated on 100 acres in the North Georgia (Blue Ridge) mountains for zoo gorillas that have special needs with potential facilities for gorillas and keepers in a private, secluded and temperate climate. In addition, the DW property can be used for educational camps or programs in conjunction with schools or universities.

Willie B Jr at the Dewar Wildlife in Morganton, GAWe were greeted in the parking area by caretaker/guide Michael and his greeter, Benny the cat and then joined Steuart Dewar and JoBeth for a presentation on Dewar Wildlife Trust. Steuart Dewar has invested millions in the design and development of such an innovative sanctuary for gorillas.  Thirty minutes there and we’d already learned so much and now we were on our way to see some gorillas.

We stopped in first to see Joe and watch him enjoy his fruit birthday cake. Gorillas are strictly vegetarians. Next it was on to  see the other buildings on the facility like the group building, observation, operating room, food prep, etc. and then on to see "The Boys".

Willie B Jr eating a grapefruit at Dewar Wildlife in Morganton, GAIn February 2012, Willie B. Jr. (also known as Kidogo), the only son of Atlanta's famous Willie B. and his 'buddy' Jasiri, also joined the DW facility. Willie B. Jr and Jasiri, "The Boys" as they're called, are are both 13, going on 14, and they get along well together in spite of their quite different personalities. Physically, Willie B. has a far more pronounced sagittal crest, and looks more like an adult male (silverback) than Jasiri who still has more of the look of a younger blackback. Both of them are settling in well at Dewar Wildlife and their new life here in the North Georgia Mountains. There is also talk of Red Pandas possibly coming to DW in the future.

They are especially grateful to Zoo Atlanta for their expression of confidence in working with the DW to house two of their gorillas, especially with Willie B. Jr. being the only son of Atlanta's famous resident gorilla. Overseeing their care and the facility is Zoo Atlanta's, Charles Horton, who personally took care of Willie B. for so many years. It's certainly a wonderful set of circumstances that have resulted in Charles now being associated with both Zoo Atlanta and the Dewar Wildlife Trust where in addition to looking after Joe, he can oversee Willie B.'s son and Jasiri as they spend their active teenage years in the large DW facility and the huge 8.5 acre habitat.

We just can’t begin to tell you what an amazing day and opportunity this was for us to visit the Dewar Wildlife facility today! This is a place where you will not only see these gorillas up close and in a beautiful natural setting, but you’ll learn so much too on this very personal tour. It’s one you won’t ever forget or regret.

Dewar Wildlife is less than a two hour drive from Zoo Atlanta and the Knoxville Zoo, and an hour+ from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  For more information, videos and to find out  What Dewar Wildlife Is  or to book your own private tour or group, please also visit their website at


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Lee & Carol Barbour
"The Mountain Living Team"



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Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group
Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates - Amherst, NH
Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate

This sounds like a great way to spend the day in the North GA mountains!

Apr 04, 2012 10:58 PM #1
Lee & Carol Barbour, REALTORS
Murphy and Hayesville, NC; Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge GA and Copperhill TN - Murphy, NC
Mountain Living Team in Murphy NC and North GA
It really was such an honor and an amazing day, Rene. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting - we're really trying to get the word out about Dewar Wildlfe here in the Blue Ridge GA mountains.
Apr 04, 2012 11:06 PM #2
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Lee and Carol. Earlier I read a post by John Q who told of the death of a 38 year old in New Mexico. And then I found this lovely and moving story. Beautifully crafted, your story moved me and If ever I get near the area.....I will do my best to visit.

Apr 04, 2012 11:43 PM #3
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Carol,  this really is a great hyper-local post!  Dewar Wildlife sounds like a fantastic place for these guys to live.  Thanks introducing us to Joe!  May he live a long and wonderful life...


Apr 05, 2012 04:40 AM #4
Lee & Carol Barbour, REALTORS
Murphy and Hayesville, NC; Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge GA and Copperhill TN - Murphy, NC
Mountain Living Team in Murphy NC and North GA

We're so glad you liked our post, Sheila! It was really a special visit for us, but if you're ever over our way, please let us know and we'll go back again with you.

Thanks Pamela! They really have a wonderful place there at Dewar Wildlife. Even their inside 'Villas" have 24 hour access to outside patios, besides the 8.5 acres. More zoos will be utilizing this unique facility in the future too, besides Zoo Atlanta.

Apr 05, 2012 04:52 AM #5
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Lee and Carol, how nice to have a wildlife zoo nearby.  This is the second gorilla post I've read today...the other was John McCormack's post on a gorilla that died in NM.

Apr 06, 2012 06:24 AM #6
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Lee and Carol ...This looks like a great exhibit!  Have a great day!

Apr 06, 2012 06:42 AM #7
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Lee and Carol,

I really enjoyed this post.  I love that the gorillas have a wonderful habitat, and that their birthdays are celebrated.  Thanks for sharing with us a special part of your world.  A

Apr 06, 2012 08:41 AM #8
Lee & Carol Barbour, REALTORS
Murphy and Hayesville, NC; Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge GA and Copperhill TN - Murphy, NC
Mountain Living Team in Murphy NC and North GA

Oh how sad Rebecca. I'll have to go over and read it. This is like no place you've ever seen before and the plans they have partnering with Zoo Atlanta are going to be spectacular.

Thanks Rob. Bet you didn't know we had Gorillas in these mountains :)

Apr 06, 2012 09:16 AM #9
Lee & Carol Barbour, REALTORS
Murphy and Hayesville, NC; Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge GA and Copperhill TN - Murphy, NC
Mountain Living Team in Murphy NC and North GA

Thank you so much Alexandra! You really can't imagine what a wonderful place this is. One of the great things Dewar Wildlife can do is assist Zoo's all over the country when they are remodeling the animals habitat instead of moving the animals into smaller areas or even worse, breaking up the groups and sending them to many different holding areas, Dewar Wildlife is a large space to accommodate those groups and is so much better for the health and safety of the animals.

Apr 06, 2012 09:22 AM #10
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