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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