On Monday, February 27th, after an 8.5 month gestation period, Artis Zoo Gorilla Dafina gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Artis, The Netherlands' oldest zoo, is already home to 10 gorillas, two of which were born last year. There are plenty of experienced moms for Dafina to learn from, although she appears to be having no trouble playing the part. From birth, gorilla mothers typically hold their young tightly to their belly buttons, making it difficult for keepers to determine their sex, often for weeks. By a stroke of luck, Dafina lifted the young baby in the presence of keepers late yesterday, giving them a clear view that the tiny baby is in fact a boy. He's been given the name Douli, after a place in the Gabon state of Africa.
The Pittsburgh Zoo welcomed a new baby gorilla on the morning of February 9. Since giving birth, Mom Moka is often found sitting near the indoor viewing window in the gorilla area holding the baby, offering visitors a fantastic view of their bonding time, as captured in the video below.
“Moka is a first time mom so we were anxious to see how she would handle motherhood, but she is doing a great job,” says Karen Vacco, assistant curator of mammals. “The baby is nursing and Moka holds him tightly against her chest.” Moka was raised by her mother and has a younger sister, so she learned maternal behavior from her mother.
First time dad Mrithi visited the baby after its birth and has been staying close to Moka, but not interfering. “The rest of the gorilla troop has been curious but respectful,” says Roseann Giambro, gorilla keeper. “They will take their cues from mom who will let them know when she is comfortable with them being close to her baby.”
Western lowland gorillas are endangered. In 2007, scientists had estimated their populations to be just about 100,000 in the wild, but an outbreak of Ebola destroyed much of the population dropping their numbers close to 30,000.
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Okanda, the six-month-old baby gorilla at Twycross Zoo in baby gorilla has been extremely poorly and their vet Sarah has been living with him around the clock as she helps nurse him back to health. We discovered a problem with his mothers milk which meant the young primate was not getting the nutrients he needed. They had to sedate his mother, Ozala, while keepers hurried the infant to the on-site vet.
Sarah is now living with Okanda at an undisclosed location; She is only communicating with the infant through grunts, mimicking the sounds and actions of a primate so not to expose him to human influence.
Vet and director of life sciences at the zoo Sharon Redrobe said: "We're very pleased with his progress but we thought we were going to lose him. It's been very touch and go. He was so thin and he doesn't want to be left alone because after all he's still only a baby. Sarah isn't holding him like a human baby, or talking to him, just grunting and grooming him like his mother would do."
Okanda was put on a drip and had a feeding tube placed in his stomach as he was not strong enough to feed from a bottle. He was then fed powdered baby milk every three hours while his condition was continuously assessed. For the past few days, staff have been weaning the youngster off milk and on to solid foods, such as bananas and food pellets.
Sharon said: "He was really quiet until yesterday, but now he's starting to play and make gorilla noises. He's started biting Sarah, which is a good sign for him, but not so good for Sarah."
‘We hope he will be back with his mum in about eight weeks. Gorillas are intelligent animals and it's clear she misses him. We were worried that she would go off her food and we'd have to care for her too, but luckily we've not had any serious problems."
Recently, ZooBorns reported on Tano the infant Gorilla's move from Prague Zoo to Wilhelma in Stuttgart, Germany. Tano has successfully completed his quarantine period and beginning today, lucky visitors can view the tiny Gorilla between 11.30 and 12 Noon. Tano can also be seen during his feeding times, although there is no set time table for these.
For the past three weeks, Tano has been cared for around the clock by surrogate mothers nurses Bea Jarczewski, Margot Federer and Thali Bauer. For now, the most important things in this little Gorilla baby's life are sleep, warmth, body contact, cuddling, vocalization, and of course, milk when he is hungry!
Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany is now home to Tano, a tiny baby Gorilla who was transported from his birth place in Zoo Prague just a week ago. His inexperienced mother Bikira was unable to care for him, so Zoo Prague moved him to Wilhelma in coordination with the European Endangered Species Programme. Tiny Tano is not a complete stranger to Wilhelma, he is the great-grandson of former Stuttgart gorillas Dina and Banjo. His mother Bikira was also hand raised at Wilhelma from 1995 to 1998. Tano has been doing very well in his new surroundings so far, being expertly hand-reared by keepers, he is sleeping well and drinking plenty of milk.
Listen closely for the tiny breaths Tano takes as he adjusts himself in his surrogate mother's arms in this video below.
It's been quite a start to life for little Tano. While at Zoo Prague, keepers rushed him to an incubator because without the body warmth of Bikira, he would not have survived. Attempts were made to return him to his mother's arms. Sadly, these were unsuccessful. In order to ensure the infant's survival, hand-rearing was the only option. The combination of round the clock care, a hot water bottle and a fur cloth as well as a device to mimic the beating of a gorilla mother's heart are all employed to ensure as normal an infancy as possible under the difficult circumstances.
There are a number of short videos and another picture beneath the fold...
Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo has a new baby - a healthy, Western Lowland Gorilla, the first to be born at the Zoo since 2005. The baby has yet to be named. First time mom, Bana, is a 16-year-old. Dad Kwan, a 22-year-old silverback, seems proud of his new offspring and has stayed protectively close to mother and baby. Born on November 19, the baby joins a troop of 7 at the Zoo. The other gorillas are "respectfully curious" according to Curator of Primates, Maureen Leahy.
“Bana has taken very well to motherhood,” said Leahy. “She is showing all of the signs of a doting new mom and is appropriately tender toward and watchful over her infant. The baby is gripping tightly to Bana and making great eye contact with her during this crucial bonding time.”
Keepers are watching closely to make sure Bana and her baby continue to do well, as the first few weeks are critical in the survival of newborn Gorillas.
More pics below the fold...
In one of her last official engagements, Ireland's President Mary McAleese opened Dublin Zoo's new Gorilla Rainforest during a ceremony.
In a double celebration, Dublin Zoo also announced the birth of another healthy baby Gorilla born to first-time mum, Mayani, on Friday 16th September. The baby arrived just days after the Gorillas moved to their new habitat. The animal care team is delighted to confirm the baby Gorilla is female. Proud mum Mayani is cradling the infant close to her chest and both mother and baby are thriving.
Nearing her one year birthday,Western Lowland Gorilla baby Kambiri is thriving at the Franklin Park Zoo. Mom Kiki and Dad Kitombe did an excellent job in raising her. The baby, born November 3 inside Franklin Park Zoo’s Tropical Forest, was originally featured on Zooborns.com during her first well-baby visit to the vet. She was found to be very healthy then and it shows! We thought you'd like to see her and wish her happy birthday.
She's now eating leafy greens with the baby teeth that are starting to come in, playing with her blanket and dozing against mom.
The Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, Netherlands welcomed a tiny baby gorilla just over one week ago. The infant, whose sex and name have yet to be determined, is under the close care of her experienced mother, Shindy. The expressive young gorilla is a huge hit with zoo visitors, and so far with the other gorillas in Artis' troupe as well.
Photo credits: A.J. Haverkamp
Gorilla keepers at Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury were delighted when another baby Gorilla was born on August 15. This is the fifth baby for mom Tamba, who is part of the Gorilla group headed by silverback Kouillou.
Neil Spooner, Animal Director at Howletts, said “Tamba and Kouillou are excellent parents and I’m so pleased that we have another addition to their family group”. The birth of this little one brings the total number of successful gorilla births between Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks to an impressive 131!
Tamba will hold her baby until it is about two months old, after which it will be able to ride on her back clinging to her fur. The baby will be dependent on Tamba for three or four years as it learns from her and the family how to find food, socialize, make nests and raise young. Gorillas breed very slowly. Females first breed when they are about 10 years old and give birth to a single infant every four to five years. Newborn gorillas are very small, weighing about 4-5 pounds (2kg), and are dependent on their mothers much like a human child.