Baby Gorilla Smiles for the Camera at Twycross Zoo
February 16, 2013
A baby Western Lowland Gorilla born at the United Kingdom’s Twycross Zoo on January 3 adds a third generation to their already close-knit Gorilla group.
The mother, Ozala, experienced a natural and stress-free birth and is keeping the new arrival very close to her. Curator of Living Collections Charlotte Macdonald said, "Ozala is a confident, attentive mother and is taking great care of her baby. The baby's father, our silverback Oumbie, is gentle but protective and is showing a lot of interest in the infant. On the day of the baby's birth he was very inquisitive, sitting beside Ozala and putting his face right up to the baby to smell it.”
Photo credits: Gillian Day taken at Twycross Zoo
Ozala was born at Twycross Zoo in 1994. The newborn joins a family unit made up of father Oumbi and grandmother, Biddi. Ozala's half-sister Asante will also provide a helping hand as the young Gorilla grows up.
Charlotte added: "The baby will be carried around by mum for the next couple of years but will, of course, gradually become more independent, just going back to Ozala for reassurance and comfort.”
Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, fewer than 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas remain in the wild, bringing the species dangerously close to extinction. Hunting, habitat loss and the Ebola virus have contributed to the species’ decline.
Zoological Director Sharon Redrobe added: "Because the Western Lowland Gorilla is such an endangered species every Gorilla birth is important, and this infant represents another vital contribution to the European Endangered Species breeding programme and to the conservation of this species.”
See more photos below the fold.