The Cincinnati Zoo is welcoming their 50th gorilla birth since 1970. Mum, 14 year old Anju gave birth to a female infant on August 25th 2015 behind the scenes of the zoo’s Gorilla World habitat.
Ron Evans, Curator of Primates for Cincinnati Zoo said, “As a first time mom, Anju is still a little awkward with proper positioning of the baby but we think she is slowly getting the hang of it. Gorilla babies are born pretty tough and as long as we see some good nursing bouts, we will be very patient with Anju until she fine tunes her baby skills. Certainly a lot of responsibility for her and the primate team.”
Keepers had been expecting the birth for a while with mumma gorilla having been pregnant for the past 9 months. For the past two weeks volunteers had manned a 24/7 remote video watch to work out when the young gorilla would be born.
They had already had their first look at the infant when it was in the womb thanks to ultrasounds performed with the assistance of The Christ Hospital. This allowed them to track growth, fetal movement, fluid and heart rate. All of this information will be logged as part of the Fetal Great Ape Monitoring Program a database which the zoo is working to develop. They hope it will assist the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) to make their breeding recommendations.
Anju took all of the medical treatments related to this in her stride thanks to training which means she is happy to voluntarily receive this.
The species Survival Plan aims to make recommendations on breeding in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos so their population remains healthy. Anju was moved to the zoo from Pittsburgh during 2012 as part of this program. She lives with the baby’s father, Jomo, three adult females and a one year old infant.
Jomo is the father of three infants, one born in 2006 known as Bakari and another from 2014 known as Mondika. He is a doting dad as Eric High, Primate Team Leader explained, “The baby’s father, silverback Jomo, started showing a lot of interest in Anju shortly before she gave birth. He kept other gorillas, including the very curious, two-year-old Gladys, away from her during labor and delivery. Anju was composed and methodically tended to the baby immediately after birth”
Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo