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Lincoln Park Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a healthy female Western Lowland Gorilla, born on February 24, 2015. 




Photo and Video Credits: Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo

The baby, named ‘Bella’, is staying tucked close to her mother and appears to be doing well. Gorilla mom, ‘Bahati’, age 27, is experiencing motherhood for the third time. Her last pregnancy occurred in 2004, and her two adult offspring now reside in other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos. ‘Kwan’, age 25, the new infant’s father, and silverback of the family group, continues to keep a watchful eye on mom and baby.

“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival. Bahati is an experienced mother whose maternal instincts are what we would hope to see with a newborn gorilla,” said Maureen Leahy, Curator of Primates.

The new baby joins a troop of six individuals, including two-year-old half-sisters ‘Nayembi’ and ‘Patty’ who were born at Lincoln Park Zoo in fall 2012.

“It’s really amazing to see this family group grow and adapt,” said Leahy. “Between the family group and bachelor troop, the gorillas at Regenstein Center for African Apes are a great representation of the species from newborn baby to fully mature silverback and several stages in-between.”

Kwan and Bahati were recommended to breed as a part of the Western Lowland Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). 

The new baby was given the name ‘Bella’ to honor a member of the Regenstein family who have been loyal supporters of the non-profit Lincoln Park Zoo for decades, donating tens of millions of dollars to the zoo through their family foundation.

Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered in their native central Africa due to habitat loss and poaching. Lincoln Park Zoo’s great apes program is one of the best in the world. The state-of-the-art Regenstein Center for African Apes is internationally-recognized for its enriching exhibit design, while scientists at the zoo’s Lester E.Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes lead their field with research in behavioral studies and disease monitoring. In the Goualougo Triangle, a remote region of the Congo, Lincoln Park Zoo researchers study how logging impacts this pristine landscape while monitoring great ape behavior and tool-use.