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It's A Girl! Gorilla Gives Birth at Woodland Park Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 2, 2021 1:20 pm

gorilla infant woodland park zoo

The western lowland gorilla infant at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo in the United States have announced the safe delivery of their long awaited western lowland gorilla infant at 10.25am (PST) on Friday, January 29th 2021. The infant is a girl and was born to mother, Nadiri after an eight to nine month gestation period.

Soon after the birth keepers noticed that Nadiri had failed to pick up or nurse her baby. Keepers and veterinary staff stepped in to place the baby under round-the-clock care in the gorilla building. Staff have since been nourishing the baby with human infant formula, keeping her warm and providing her with short visits with her mother.

gorilla infant woodland park zoo

The western lowland gorilla infant at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

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.”

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This is the second infant for 24 year old Nadiri and her first with father Kwame who is 21 years old.

Nadiri gave birth for the first time in 2015 to Yola. Nadiri was partially human-raised and as an infant she had no experience of mothering. This meant she had little knowledge of what to do when she had her own infant.

Yola spent her first few months being cared for by the gorilla keepers and vets while being provided daily opportunities for interaction with mom. Eventually Nadiri's maternal instinct kicked in and eventually Yola was able to be reunited with her mother.

“We had worked with Nadiri to prepare for this moment and were optimistic this time around that Nadiri would pick up her baby and show maternal care. However, while Nadiri periodically touched her baby just after giving birth, she never picked up her newborn the first day,” said Ramirez.

 

Gorilla keepers and veterinary staff closely monitored the birth and post-birth while trying to encourage Nadiri to pick up her baby. “However, an hour later, it was necessary for us to intervene for the baby’s well-being,” added Ramirez.

gorilla infant woodland park zoo

The western lowland gorilla infant at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The animal health team performed a neonatal exam an hour after birth. “The baby’s vital signs are good and she’s healthy and physically normal,” said Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at Woodland Park Zoo. “The newborn weighs 4.9 pounds. The average weight for a gorilla at birth is 4 pounds, so she’s within the norm.”

 

Following the exam, the baby was returned to her mom while gorilla care staff continued to encourage maternal behaviors in Nadiri. “We prepared for every possible scenario including having to bottle feed and provide round-the-clock care for the baby until Nadiri shows interest,” said Ramirez. While she has held her baby since then, she has not yet nursed her.

For now the mom and her group will remain off-show in their dens allowing them to be close to the new infant.

This is the 15th gorilla infant born at the Woodland Park Zoo. They are renowned for their successful breeding program.

“Bringing a baby gorilla into the world is always exciting not only for us here at the zoo, but also the community as a whole. Each new gorilla is a symbol of hope for their cousins in the wild, for the forests they live in and for our planet,” said Ramirez. “Growing our gorilla family of different generations and ages creates more opportunities for the zoo to engage the community in taking important action to preserve gorillas into the future.”

gorilla infant woodland park zoo

The western lowland gorilla infant at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Learn more about the western lowland gorilla here – Western Lowland Gorilla | The Animal Facts


Learn more about Woodland Park Zoo on their website – Woodland Park Zoo

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