Gorilla

Pablo The 11-Month-Old Western Lowland Gorilla Receives Routine Vet Check At Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo

11-month-old western lowland gorilla Pablo recently underwent an exam requiring anesthesia at Franklin Park Zoo’s Hospital in Boston. Baby gorillas typically have their first routine exam around this age to make sure that they’re strong and healthy. All went well with the exam, which included bloodwork, radiographs, weight (just over 19 pounds!), and a general check-up on Pablo’s body condition.

The youngest member of the FPZ troop is looking great and growing like a gorilla tot should! Pablo had a smooth recovery and was reunited with mom, Kiki, right away following the exam. The pair were back on exhibit with the rest of the gorilla troop the next day. Thanks to the dedicated team for making sure that everything went safely for all involved!


Two Very Different Babies Emerge At Woodland Park Zoo

Baby Gorilla

Visitors to Woodland Park Zoo are oohing and aahing as they catch their first sightings of baby girl gorilla, Zuna (zoo-nah). The 11 week old is now with her mom and family in the public outdoor habitat on a limited schedule: 12:30-3:30 p.m. daily (weather dependent).

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 Zuna, which means “sweet” in the African language, Lingala (lin-gah-lah), is the second baby for 25-year-old mom Nadiri (naw-DEER-ee) and the first between her and the dad, 21-year-old Kwame (KWA-may).
 
“We continue to bottle feed Zuna for her nourishment while mom Nadiri provides maternal care. She’s doing an excellent job. Once Zuna’s feedings are reduced, we’ll be able to extend her time outdoors,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.
 
The baby gorilla is becoming more active and steadily becoming stronger and more observant. “Zuna’s watching the other gorillas in her family with growing curiosity. Kitoko, our 1-year-old boy, is especially interested in her,” said Ramirez. “Once Zuna becomes more mobile, our zoo visitors are going to be in for a real treat watching these youngsters romp and play. As symbols of hope for their cousins in the wild, our gorillas can inspire our community to care about and take action on behalf of these gentle giants and other wildlife.”
 
The other members of Zuna’s family are: Nadiri’s 5-year-old daughter, Yola, Akenji and Uzumma, the mom of Kitoko.
 
Stay tuned to updates and milestones by visiting zoo.org/growingupgorilla and following the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #GrowingUpGorilla.


Every visit to Woodland Park Zoo supports conservation of animals in the wild. Join the zoo by recycling old cell phones and other used handheld electronics through ECO-CELL to help preserve gorilla habitat. Funds generated from ECO-CELL support the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.


ZooParent adoptions are the perfect way to pay tribute to Zuna. ZooParent adoptions help Woodland Park Zoo provide exceptional care for all of its amazing animals and support wildlife conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. 

Baby Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo
 
Woodland Park Zoo is jumping for joey over its 8-month-old Matschie’s tree kangaroo! The male joey (a baby marsupial), born last August to mom Omari and dad Rocket, is just beginning to venture outside the safety of his mom’s pouch. To the surprise of no one, he’s positively precious. 

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The 2-pound joey is named Havam (hay-vam) which is the word for “tree kangaroo” in one of the many languages of the YUS Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea, home to wild but endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroos. YUS is home to Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, whose amazing work for the people and wildlife of Papua New Guinea would not be possible without support from donors and organizations like the Shared Earth Foundation, which ensures that all creatures have an enduring claim to sustainable space on this planet. 

This joey’s journey may surprise you: Tree kangaroos are born hairless, blind and only the size of a jelly bean. In order to survive, the joey must quickly crawl from the birth canal, through its mother’s fur and into her pouch to immediately start nursing. At first, Havam did get a little bit too eager to make his debut, explains animal keeper Beth Carlyle-Askew. 

“Havam exited Omari’s pouch a little early — we actually had to put him back in to finish growing for a few more months. Luckily an animal keeper saw him outside the pouch and knew exactly what to do. She kept him warm by putting him in her shirt, then put him in a fabric pouch with a heated pad until he could be returned to Omari’s pouch,” said Carlyle-Askew. 

As each day passes, little Havam is familiarizing himself with the world around him. He makes short trips out of the pouch to explore his new home, but he still prefers the warmth and safety of Omari’s pouch. When he’s not nursing, Havam is starting to try solid foods, sampling all of his mom’s food to figure out what he likes best. He’s even been learning to climb up and around his enclosure! At 14 months old, Havam will wean from nursing and eventually become fully independent.  

Havam is the third joey for dad Rocket, who fathered Havam’s half-siblings Ecki and Keweng, born to the zoo’s other female tree kangaroo Elanna in 2018 and 2020, respectively. This is the fourth joey for Omari, who had three other joeys at Santa Fe Teaching Zoo before coming to live at Woodland Park Zoo. All of the zoo’s tree kangaroos are currently living in a habitat that is off view to the public. 


Woodland Park Zoo is home to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program that is working to protect the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo and help maintain the unique biodiversity of its native Papua New Guinea in balance with the culture and needs of the people who live there. Consider supporting the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program here: www.zoo.org/tkcp/donate


Jacksonville Zoo And Gardens Welcomes Critically Endangered Gorilla Infant

A male western lowland gorilla was born at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens early Friday morning. This is the fifth gorilla born at the Zoo, and the first since 2018.

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The male was born to mother Madini and father Lash. This is the third viable offspring for 44-year-old Lash and the second for 24-year-old Madini. Her daughter, Patty, still resides at the Zoo and will be 6 years old on May 9.  

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Madini and Lash were recommended to breed by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). This group of zoo professionals cooperatively manages the gorilla population at zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). They are responsible for making science-based breeding and transfer recommendations as well as providing support and guidance on all aspects of gorilla management at AZA institutions to maintain a healthy, diverse, and sustainable safety-net population to enhance conservation of this species in the wild.

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Madini was born in 1996 to mother Bulera, and they both were transferred to Jacksonville in November 2006. Lash was born on Christmas Day in 1976, and he moved to Jacksonville in 1998. He lived in a bachelor group with Rumpel for eight years before being introduced to Madini and Bulera.

This infant is now the ninth member of the largest gorilla group in the Zoo’s history. This includes the last infant to be born, 2-year-old Gandai, who was reared by keepers after her deaf birth mother, Kumbuka, could not properly care for her. After five months of bottle feeding and teaching her how to be a gorilla, keepers introduced her to a surrogate mother, Bulera. Since then, the mother and daughter have been slowly reintroduced to surrogate father, Rumpel; surrogate brother, George; surrogate sister, Madini; Madini's daughter, Patty; and ultimately her biological mother, Kumbuka, and biological father, Lash.

“We have many reasons to celebrate this new infant. He will further enrich the social environment and experience of his amazing group and strengthen the sustainability of the Gorilla SSP. Although raising Gandai was an incredibly rewarding experience, the gorilla care staff is elated to see this infant thriving in the care of his own mother,” said Tracy Fenn, Assistant Curator of Mammals.

Western lowland gorillas are the most widespread of the gorilla subspecies inhabiting forests and swampland of central Africa, however the subspecies is critically endangered due to deforestation, poaching, and introduced diseases. Mature male gorillas, or “Silverbacks” are much larger than females. Infants usually weigh around four pounds at birth and are dependent on their mothers for up to five years.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will be raising awareness of species like the western lowland gorilla at Party for the Planet on Saturday, April 24. This event is presented by The Wild Things, a young professional group at the Zoo, and is a celebration of Earth Day, Endangered Species Day, and World Oceans Day. Guests are encouraged to donate old cell phones to help save gorilla species in the wild. Visit JacksonvilleZoo.org/PartyForThePlanet for more info.

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 species of plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit organization and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the over 45 conservation initiatives Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, and here in NE Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit jacksonvillezoo.org.


Zoo Berlin’s Baby Gorilla Has A Name – And Is Now Helping Raise Funds For A New Home

Tilla Needs A Villa

All over Germany, from Berlin to Bonn and from Breisgau to Buxtehude, people have spent the past few weeks coming up with suitable names for Zoo Berlin’s newborn female gorilla. Many media outlets got involved in the name search, as news of Berlin’s first gorilla baby in 16 years spread throughout the region, the nation – and even the rest of the world. It’s no wonder, then, that Zoo Berlin received more than 17,000 name suggestions within seven days – 15,000 via social media channels alone. Many of the ideas made reference to the current situation, including “Hope” and “Covi”. There was even a suggestion to name her “Frau Merkel” after the German Chancellor.

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“We were overwhelmed by the number of submissions and would like to express our sincere thanks for the many, in some cases very personal, name suggestions,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “It was no easy task, but we finally decided to name our little gorilla Tilla.” The animal keepers marked the occasion by treating the gorilla family to a special feast. “Contrary to what many people assume, a gorilla’s diet consists mostly of salad and vegetables,” explains Zoo veterinarian Dr André Schüle. “The buffet we laid on for Bibi, Sango and the rest of the family featured rice, raspberries, pomegranate, peppers and carrots and was a real treat for the eyes as well as the belly.”

FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR A NEW PRIMATE HOUSE

With coronavirus-related losses in the tens of millions, last year dealt a massive financial blow to Zoo Berlin. As a result, it is now an even greater challenge to raise funds for upcoming construction projects like the new Primate House. Zoo Berlin therefore needs outside support to realise its goal of giving the primates a more spacious home with natural features as soon as possible. Donations are currently being collected for Tilla and her family under the campaign motto “My gorilla needs a villa at the Zoo”. Each and every contribution is greatly appreciated: www.zoo-berlin.de/gorillatilla

Background information

Following a gestation period of about eight and a half months, a female gorilla was born at Zoo Berlin on the night of 15 February. The last time a gorilla came into the world here was 16 years ago. For the first few months, the infant is completely dependent on her mother’s care and she will live off her milk for four to five years. Mother Bibi (24) spent the first nine years of her life in a gorilla family at Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands. During this time, she observed other gorillas taking care of their young, which provided her with a good example of how to raise her own infant. This is the first offspring for both Bibi and Zoo Berlin’s silverback Sango (16). As well as Sango and Bibi, Zoo Berlin’s gorilla family includes females Djambala (19) and Mpenzi (35). Elderly Fatou (63), the oldest known gorilla in the world, is spending her retirement in a separate, neighbouring habitat. During these crucial early days, only the animal keepers are permitted to enter the Primate House – which is currently closed to visitors anyway due to coronavirus restrictions.

Gorillas are the largest and heaviest of the great apes. An adult male can measure up to two metres when standing upright and weighs about 220 kilos. On the recommendation of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), male gorilla Sango moved from Pairi Daiza in Belgium to Zoo Berlin in February 2019 to complete Berlin’s gorilla family. Tragically, these remarkable herbivores are threatened with extinction in the wild because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting.


Happy 1st Birthday to Kitoko, One of Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Ambassadors!

World Wildlife Day 2021 was particularly special for Woodland Park Zoo this year because it ushered in the 1st birthday of little Kitoko, a male western lowland gorilla born March 4 during the pandemic. “While the zoo was closed for nearly four months, we shared loads of photos of Kitoko—his milestones and tender moments—with our community and zoo family. He has touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people during a tumultuous time and brought so much joy,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator of Woodland Park Zoo.

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“Kitoko’s wild cousins live in tropical rain forests, so his birthday is the perfect time to pay tribute to the communities and wildlife who depend on those forests for survival,” added Ramirez. Western lowland gorillas live in seven countries across west equatorial Africa, including Congo, southeast Nigeria, Gabon and Central African Republic.
 
Forests and woodlands are mainstays of human livelihoods and well-being. Indigenous and rural communities have a particularly close relationship with these natural systems. They rely on these systems to meet their essential needs, from food and shelter to energy and medicines. Forests, forest wildlife, and the livelihoods that depend on them are facing multiple crises: from climate change to deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading "Happy 1st Birthday to Kitoko, One of Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Ambassadors!" »


Baby Gorilla Born at Zoo Berlin

The little ape with its small, delicate body and big dark eyes hides shyly in the arms of its mother Bibi (24). Following a gestation period of about eight and a half months, the infant was born at Zoo Berlin on the night of 15 February. The last time a gorilla came into the world here was 16 years ago. For the Zoo Berlin team, it is now a case of watching from the sidelines with wonder and bated breath: “We are very relieved that the baby looks fit and healthy and that the mother appears to be taking good care of her offspring,” says Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. During these crucial early days, only division head Christian Aust and his team of animal keepers will enter the Primate House – which is currently closed to visitors anyway due to coronavirus restrictions. “Peace and quiet are top priority,” says Knieriem.

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Bibi spent the first nine years of her life in a gorilla family at Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands. During this time, she observed other gorillas taking care of their young, which provided her with a good example of how to raise her own infant. At birth, a baby gorilla is greyish pink in colour and has just a few dark hairs on its head and back. The skin starts to turn black only after a couple of days. This is the first offspring for both Bibi and Zoo Berlin’s silverback Sango (16). “For the first few months, a baby gorilla is completely dependent on its mother’s care and lives off her milk for four to five years,” explains Zoo Berlin’s veterinarian Dr. André Schüle. “Little gorillas can hold on to their mother’s fur from the moment they are born, and she carries them around wherever she goes – initially on her tummy and later on her back.” As mother and baby are not yet being approached by either animal keepers or veterinarians, the baby’s sex is not known and its birth weight could not be determined. Generally, newborn gorillas weigh about two kilos. “Happily, we have already observed the young gorilla suckling,” reports Schüle. Although the whole gorilla group is showing a lot of interest in the new family member, the mother is solely responsible for rearing her infant. As well as Sango and Bibi, Zoo Berlin’s gorilla family includes females Djambala (19) and Mpenzi (35). Elderly Fatou (63), the oldest known gorilla in the world, is spending her retirement in a separate, neighbouring habitat.

Gorillas are the largest and heaviest of the great apes. An adult male can measure up to two metres when standing upright and weighs about 220 kilos. On the recommendation of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), male gorilla Sango moved from Pairi Daiza in Belgium to Zoo Berlin in February 2019 to complete Berlin’s gorilla family. Tragically, these remarkable herbivores are threatened with extinction in the wild because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting.


Woodland Park Zoo’s gorilla mom has given birth to her second baby

SEATTLE—The baby boom continues at Woodland Park Zoo with the birth of a western lowland gorilla and it’s a girl! The mom, Nadiri (naw-DEER-ee), gave birth Friday, January 29, at 10:25 a.m. (PST). The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months.

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Credit for photos and video: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
 
Shortly after birth, zoo gorilla and veterinary staff had to step in and place the baby under round-the-clock care in the gorilla building because Nadiri had not picked up her baby to nurse or keep her warm enough the first day. Staff are nourishing the baby by bottle feeding her human infant formula, keeping her warm and providing her with short visits with her mother; the baby is doing well.
 
The first 72 hours of life are the most critical for a newborn gorilla. “We will continue to provide hands-on care while keeping the baby in close proximity to Nadiri 24/7 and attempting to reintroduce her to mom,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. Nadiri has visual, auditory and olfactory contact with her baby. “We will continue to introduce Nadiri to her baby. She is staying close and has picked up her baby for short periods over the weekend, but has not shown any interest in nursing her. By doing short introduction sessions frequently throughout each day, we hope her maternal instinct will soon kick in.”

Continue reading "Woodland Park Zoo’s gorilla mom has given birth to her second baby" »


Second Baby Born at Bristol Zoo Gardens in Sixth Months

A baby gorilla has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens, the second in less than six months.

The tiny western lowland gorilla arrived in the early hours of December 22 in the Gorilla House at the heart of the Zoo.

Mum Touni gave birth naturally to the infant, with dad, Jock, and the rest of the family troop nearby. Keepers arrived in the morning to find the little gorilla being cradled in its mother’s arms.

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It is 13-year-old Touni’s second baby. In April 2017 she gave birth to Ayana, who still lives at the Zoo.

The new infant was born just four months after another gorilla, ten-year-old Kala, gave birth to Hasani – currently being hand-reared by keepers after Kala struggled to care for him.

Nigel Simpson, Bristol Zoological Society’s Head of Animal Collections, said: “It is simply wonderful to see a new-born gorilla, they are so charismatic and such an iconic species.”

The birth is also important in helping to safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas, which are Critically Endangered in the wild.

Nigel said: “Touni is an excellent mother and she is taking very good care of her baby. All the early signs are positive and the baby looks to be strong and healthy. We will be keeping a very close eye on both mother and baby as these early days are so important.

“This is also great news for Bristol Zoological Society, which operates both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, as we are part of an internationally important breeding and conservation programme.”

The new gorilla joins the troop of seven others at the Zoo, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.

One of Bristol Zoological Society’s flagship conservation projects focuses on western lowland gorillas in Monte Alén National Park, Equatorial Guinea. This area is highlighted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically important for the conservation of the species.

For more than 20 years the Society has also supported a sanctuary in Cameroon which helps look after orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees.

Gorillas are hunted for their meat and their young are regularly taken and sold as pets, often only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.

Visitors to the Zoo should be able to see the new gorilla as they pass through the Gorilla House or look onto the Gorilla Island outside.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is owned and run by Bristol Zoological Society, which also operates Wild Place Project. It is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo and Wild Place, but also its vital conservation and research projects across four continents.

In March the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’. The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more, or to make a donation, visit https://bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.

Visitors to Bristol Zoo Gardens are recommended to book online in advance  https://bristolzoo.org.uk/online-booking.


Hand-rearing a Baby Gorilla at Bristol Zoo

An infant western lowland gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens is being given round-the-clock care by keepers.

The baby, which keepers now know is male, is two months old and was delivered naturally but has not been feeding well and his mother, Kala, has been finding looking after him challenging. 

He was not getting enough milk from Kala to survive so a small team of experienced keepers is now caring for him and bottle feeding him day and night.

This will continue for the next four months after which it is hoped he will be ready to return to the rest of the group.

During the day, the baby gorilla is being looked after in the Gorilla House to allow plenty of opportunities for Kala and the other gorillas to see him, smell him and be near him, and ensure that he continues to be accepted as a familiar member of the gorilla family. 

At night the infant is being cared for by keepers in Zoo-owned accommodation onsite.

Now the youngster needs a name and the Zoo is inviting members of the public to help choose.

Keepers have drawn up a shortlist of names and the Zoo is running a naming poll on its Facebook page from today (Thursday October 22).

The names to vote on are:

  • Motuku - means ‘Chief of the Village’ in Bubi (local language in Equatorial Guinea)
  • Hasani – means ‘Handsome’ in Swahili
  • Luango – town/city on the coast of Equatorial Guinea
  • Kidosi - popular African name, particularly in Central Africa

To vote for your favourite name, visit facebook.com/BristolZooGardens/.

Lynsey Bugg, Mammals Curator at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “Hand-rearing any animal is not a decision we take lightly as our preference is always for an animal to be reared naturally by its own mother.

“Sadly this doesn’t always happen and in this instance we decided that it was in the baby gorilla’s best interests for us to hand rear him to ensure he had the best chance of survival.”

Lynsey said keepers would do their best to treat him like a gorilla mum would, expecting him to hold on tight and making gorilla vocalisations to make reintroduction into the group as easy for him as possible.

She added: “It’s really important for him that he remains a familiar member of the group, as well as being used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the gorillas.”

The rest of the gorilla troop are doing well and keepers are keeping a close eye on Kala who is adjusting well and is in good health. 

While the gorilla house is open as normal, the baby gorilla is not able to be seen by the public at this stage. 

Bristol Zoo has been caring for gorillas since 1930. The Zoo plays a significant role in the conservation breeding programme for western lowland gorillas as well as running a conservation programme in Equatorial Guinea in Africa.

Bristol Zoological Society also raises significant funds for gorilla conservation in the wild, supports a gorilla orphanage in Cameroon and has pioneered veterinary treatment for gorillas.

Bristol Zoological Society, which operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning four continents.

In March 2020 Bristol Zoological Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’.

The Society, which is a registered charity, launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol in the face of the Covd-19 pandemic. To find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation, visit bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.


Baby gorilla delivered via C-section at Franklin Park Zoo

 

On October 14, a multidisciplinary team of veterinarians and physicians successfully delivered a male gorilla baby via Cesarean section at the Franklin Park Zoo.

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In the days leading up to the delivery, Kiki, a 39-year-old western lowland gorilla, experienced vaginal bleeding, which at times was significant. With Kiki’s due date just days away, the veterinary team at Zoo New England became concerned that she may have placenta previa, a condition where the placenta lies over the entrance to the cervix, blocking the path for delivery of the baby.

At 4:00 p.m. on October 14, the Zoo New England veterinary team, along with specialists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, performed an ultrasound on Kiki and quickly confirmed that she did have placenta previa. The Animal Care and veterinary teams transported Kiki to the Zoo Hospital on grounds at Franklin Park Zoo and prepped her for surgery, which once underway went quickly and smoothly.

At 6:35 p.m., the 6 pound, 3 ounce gorilla infant was delivered. He’s a big baby, as gorilla infants typically weigh 3-5 pounds, and is the first male gorilla ever born at Franklin Park Zoo.

“For the health of mom and baby, it was imperative to quickly diagnose Kiki’s condition and perform a C-section before she went into labor on her own. We were fortunate to quickly mobilize an amazing team with our colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Vice President of Animal Health and Conservation. “This was truly a team effort, and we are relieved and happy that the surgery went smoothly and that mom and baby are both safe and healthy.”

Zoo New England’s veterinary and animal care teams were assisted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital obstetricians Dr. Julian Robinson, Dr. Thomas McElrath, Dr. Sara Rae Easter, Dr. James Greenberg, and RN Monique Williams, Brigham & Women’s Hospital neonatologists Dr. Linda Van Marter and Dr. Elizabeth Flanigan, and veterinary anesthesiologist Dr. Emily McCobb and veterinary anesthesia resident Dr. Emily Wheeler from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Following the delivery, Kiki recovered from surgery while the baby was cared for by Zoo staff where Kiki was close enough to see and hear the baby. The pair were successfully reunited the following afternoon on October 15, and Kiki has been very attentive, holding the baby close. Mother and baby have bonded well and continue to be closely monitored and cared for behind the scenes. For news on when they will make their exhibit debut, please check our website or follow us on social media.

Zoo New England is an active participant in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. Kiki’s pregnancy was the result of a recommended breeding by the SSP with her mate Kitombe, affectionately known as Kit. Kiki has previously given birth to four female gorillas – her youngest two reside at Franklin Park Zoo, while her oldest two reside at other AZA-accredited zoos per breeding recommendations.

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. Western gorillas, found in the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, and Central African Republic, are divided into the Cross River and western lowland subspecies. Both are considered critically endangered. Threats to gorillas vary geographically and western gorillas are primarily threatened by disease and the bushmeat trade.

Zoo New England has been a longtime supporter of gorilla conservation, devoting passion, expertise and resources to the preservation of this iconic species. Zoo New England is currently supporting a project to protect Cross-river gorillas in the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Nigeria. Here at home, Zoo New England participates in the Eco-Cell recycling program, an initiative which partners with zoos across the country to collect recycled cell phones and refurbish them for reuse. This reduces the need for coltan mining, which causes the destruction of endangered gorilla habitats.