The Louisville Zoo’s female infant baby gorilla (born February 6, 2010), is continuing to improve after a family skirmish left the infant injured. Happily, the Zoo’s veterinary team now says her prognosis is good. The infant is in an off-exhibit area in Gorilla Forest being hand raised by staff who are physically holding and caring for her 24 hours a day. To aid and speed recovery, she is continuing to receive aggressive nutritional support and antibiotic therapy. She is also on iron supplements to help with her anemia.
The baby also gets visual interaction time with the other gorillas when the staff walks her around behind the scenes of Gorilla Forest.
“We want her to understand she is still a gorilla,” McMahan said, “so that interaction is important.”
Mom Mia Moja and adult female Kweli are currently being housed together and male Mshindi is currently housed separately.
Unfortunately family fights are not uncommon in gorilla groups and in this case the infant's leg was hurt in the skirmish.
“Squabbles within a gorilla group do happen,” Louisville Zoo Animal Curator Steve Wing said. “Gorillas exhibit complex and dynamic relationship behaviors. It is challenging to identify the reason for this occurrence. Mia Moja, Mshindi, Kweli and the baby had been together sharing the same space through the pregnancy and since the birth and doing well.”
The baby was born February 6 to western lowland gorilla Mia Moja. She was the first gorilla baby born in North America this year and the second gorilla ever born at the Louisville Zoo. (The first was male Azizi born to Makari on December 4, 2003, a year after Gorilla Forest opened in May of 2002.
Mother-raised and small-framed Mia Moja was born March 18, 1989, at Zoo Atlanta and arrived at the Louisville Zoo in 2005. This is Mia’s second offspring. Her first was Olympia who was born in 1996 and sired by famous gorilla Willie B. Olympia resides at Zoo Atlanta.
Silverback Mshindi was born October 17, 1987, at St. Louis Zoo. He was hand raised and arrived at the Louisville Zoo in 2005. This is his first offspring.
Kweli is a female who was born at Cincinnati Zoo in 1983 and arrived in Louisville in April of 2008. She is mother to Kicho (Louisville Zoo) and also has offspring at Pittsburgh Zoo and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.