I'm your mother. I know everything. Now, where have you been?
~ Kala to Tarzan

Kala was the adopted gorilla mother of Tarzan, whom as a baby she rescued from Sabor, the wife later widow of Kerchak, the aunt of Terk and a supporting character in Disney's 1999 film, Tarzan and its follow up TV series and midquel film.

She is voiced by Glenn Close.


Kala is calm, gentle, kind, loving, and beautiful. She loves her son Tarzan unconditionally, although she said that she knew Tarzan wouldn't replace her firstborn son who was killed by the leopard Sabor. Although she is usually a gentle person, Kala is capable of aggression when necessary and is also very brave, fighting against the deadly leopard Sabor in order to protect baby Tarzan. Kala often disagreed with her husband Kerchak but despite this they did love each other and Kala was sad when Kerchak died.



Kala is first seen with Kerchak and their young son. However one night, the young gorilla chases a bug and runs into a leopard called Sabor, who pursues the youngster. Kala and Kerchak hear the noise and rush to help their son, only to arrive too late and watch on in horror as their son is attacked and killed by Sabor. Kala weeps over her son's death whilst being comforted by an equally devastated Kerchak.

Sometime later, Kerchak (presumably to prevent anymore deaths) leads the gorillas to a new home. Kala hears crying and leaves the group and follows the noise. She comes to a treehouse and finds a human baby, whose parents were killed by Sabor. Just then, Sabor appears and attacks Kala. Luckily, Kala is able to escape her and takes the baby back to the group. Kala shows the baby to the other gorillas (including her niece Terk). Kerchak arrives and tells Kala to take the baby back as he cannot replace their son. However Kala is able to get Kerchak to change his mind and let her keep him after she reveals that Sabor killed the baby's parents. Kala then names the baby Tarzan.

A few later, Tarzan, now a young boy, unintentionally causes an elephant stampede whilst trying to get an elephant hair for Terk and is mistaken for a piranha by a young calf named Tantor (who Tarzan later befriends). After being scolded by Kerchak for what had happened, Kala comes to the boy's defence and is berated by her husband for doing so, believing that Tarzan would not learn from his mistakes or learn to be a gorilla, to which Kala replies that Kerchak never gives Tarzan a chance to prove himself. Kerchak angrily declares that Tarzan will never be one of them. After Tarzan runs off in sadness, Kala follows him and comforts him and encourages him to improve himself and show Kerchak that he can be as good as any ape.

Years later, Tarzan grows into a young adult and battles and kills Sabor, to the proudness of Kala and the other gorillas. Shortly after, gunshoots are heard, causing Kala and the others to flee, whilst Tarzan goes to investigate the noise. Later, Kala and Kerchak find Tarzan, Terk, Tantor and several of the other gorillas in a camp with an English woman named Jane Porter (who has come to the jungle to study gorillas). Kerchak orders Tarzan and the others back to home as Jane's father Archimedes Q. Porter and a hunter named Clayton (who is serving as the Porters guide) arrive. After Kerchak orders the troop to keep away from the humans, Tarzan confronts Kala over why she never told him there were creatures like him.

Sometime later, Tarzan convinces Terk and Tantor to disguise themselves as the Porters to distract Kerchak whilst he bring the real Porters and Clayton to meet Kala and the other gorillas. Kala is at first wary of the humans, but warms to them after seeing Jane playing with the younger gorillas. Suddenly, Kerchak returns and tries to attack the humans, but is stopped by Tarzan, whom Kerchak accuses of betraying the troop. Later that night, Kala takes Tarzan to the treehouse where she found him as a baby and shows him a picture of his biological parents. When Tarzan decides to go to England with the Porters and Clayton, he tells Kala that no matter where he went, she would always be his mother, to which Kala replies that Tarzan would always be in her heart.

However after Tarzan leaves, Kala and the other gorillas are captured by Clayton and his men (who wish to sell the gorillas on the black market). Luckily, Tarzan, Terk, Tantor, Jane and Professor Porter arrive and free the gorillas and battle Clayton and his men. However during the battle, Kerchak is shot by Clayton when he tries to help Tarzan. After Clayton's death, Kala and the others watch on sadly as Kerchak dies after finally accepting Tarzan as his son and makes him the gorillas new leader.

After the Porters decide to stay in the jungle, Kala is last seen being given flowers by Tarzan and Jane.




  • In the original Tarzan novel, Kala was married to Tublat (who serves as a villain in The Legend of Tarzan) and took in Tarzan after Kerchak (portrayed as villainous) killed his father. Years later, Kala is killed by a hunter, but Tarzan avenges her death by killing the hunter.