Roll: Western lowland gorilla, Calaya, giving birth
Roll: Western lowland gorilla, Calaya, giving birth
Smithsonian National Zoo welcomes baby gorilla
17 April, 2018, 16:19
Moke, which means "little one" in the Lingala language, is the first male western lowland gorilla born at that zoo in almost a decade, according to a Smithsonian Magazine report. Moke means "junior" or "little one" in the language Lingala, according to staff at the zoo and conservation biology centre.
Calaya, 15, gave birth to Moke in front of zoo staff.
There was also video shared by the zoo that showed Calaya holding Moke in her arms while giving the infant gorilla kisses on his face.
Zoo curators say these gorillas are critically endangered. Over 500 western lowland gorillas are in zoos around the world.
Moke is the first baby gorilla born at the zoo in nine years. Because of the gorilla's endangered status, Moke makes an incredibly exciting and valuable addition.
Calaya is a first time mom, and caretakers said she is doing an awesome job, cradling the baby and even breastfeeding.
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Animal keeper Melba Brown said zoo officials are certain Calaya will be an excellent mum to her new son.
The Smithsonian's five-gorilla troop is now made up of Moke, Calaya, 26-year-old father Baraka, another adult female called Mandara and a sub-adult female called Kibibi.
Native to Central African Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the lowland gorilla species adds one more to its dwindling number, and hopefully through conservation and other efforts, these creatures will thrive in the coming decades.
"This infant's arrival triggers many emotions-joy, excitement, relief-and pride that all of our perseverance in preparing Calaya for motherhood has paid off". The Great Ape House is closed to give Calaya quiet time to bond with her baby.
'I am excited to see how he will fit into the group dynamic.
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