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Audubon Zoo Celebrates Gorilla Infants Safe Arrival

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: September 9, 2020 2:05 pm

gorilla infant audubon

Tumani bonds with her infant at Audubon Zoo

Photo Credit: Audubon Zoo

A western lowland gorilla infant is the latest arrival at the Audubon Zoo. 13 year old mother Tumani gave birth to the infant, her first, in the early hours of September 4th 2020. This infant is the first gorilla born at Audubon Zoo in 24 years.

Animal care staff have been monitoring mother and baby and report that they are doing well.

“This is a momentous occasion for Audubon Zoo,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “We are thrilled to share this birth with our New Orleans community and contribute to the conservation efforts of this critically endangered species.”

gorilla infant audubon

Tumani bonds with her infant at Audubon Zoo

Photo Credit: Audubon Zoo

The father of the infant is 27 year old silverback gorilla Okpara. Okpara arrived at the Audubon Zoo from Franklin Park Zoo in 2017. This is the first offspring for the pair.

Okpara and Tumani were brought together as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). This is a co-ordinated program among zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that aims to create a genetically diverse population and ensure the long-term sustainability of the species.

Western lowland gorillas have been listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list. Their population has declined 80% as a result of hunting, habitat loss and disease.

Currently the World of Primates exhibit at Audubon Zoo is closed while Tumani bonds with her infant. Once keepers feel they have successfully bonded they will reopen the exhibit to the public.

gorilla infant audubon

Tumani bonds with her infant at Audubon Zoo

Photo Credit: Audubon Zoo

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Audubon Zoo re-opened to the public on June 3 2020 after a 4 month closure. They are continuing to care for their 15,000 animals and manage breeding programs such as those for the gorilla despite significant financial challenges.

“While Audubon facilities were closed, the estimated loss of revenue directly generated by visitors to our facilities during March to June is approximately $21M,” explained Forman. “We are committed to making a positive impact on the natural world by helping to save species, such as the critically endangered western lowland gorilla, but continuing our conservation efforts comes at a steep financial cost.”

The infant can be noticed by a white patch on its rump. This will fade by three or four years and allows the group to keep track of the infant’s location.

gorilla infant audubon

Tumani bonds with her infant at Audubon Zoo

Photo Credit: Audubon Zoo

To allow the public to get involved with the birth Audubon Zoo has created a baby registry for the new family. Audubon Zoo’s animal care and veterinary team have selected a range of food, enrichment and training materials which can be purchased for the family. You can check out the baby registry here – Audubon Zoo Gorilla Infant Registry.

Learn more about the western lowland gorillaWestern lowland gorilla Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Audubon Zoo on their website – Audubon Zoo

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