Baby Gorilla Born as Zoo Visitors Watch
March 17, 2018
Visitors to Spain’s Bioparc Valencia witnessed a special moment when Fossey, a Western Lowland Gorilla, gave birth in the exhibit habitat at about 4:00 pm on March 8.
The infant, whose gender is not yet known, is the fourth baby of this Critically Endangered species to be born at Bioparc Valencia in the last five years.
Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia
This is the first baby for 18-year-old Fossey, who is named for American primatologist Dian Fossey. Silverback Mambie is the father of all four babies born at Bioparc Valencia.
The Gorilla family at Bioparc Valencia is large and stable, which contributes to a tranquil setting for newborns. The group consists of three adult females, one silverback, and youngsters Ebo, 5, Virunga, 19 months, and Mbeli, 5 months.
To prepare for the birth, the Gorilla team gave the entire group access to indoor and outdoor quarters all day and all night. This allowed the new mom to find a comfortable space to deliver her baby. Gorillas are naturally social, and the other members of the troop immediately came to meet the new baby. The young Gorillas in particular showed a great deal of interest in their new half-sibling.
The new baby will play a vital role in the European Gorilla Conservation Program, a cooperative effort of European zoos to maintain a genetically healthy and sustainable Gorilla population.
Western Lowland Gorillas are native to the mountain forests of central Africa. The total population is around 150,000 – 250,000 individuals, but declines at a rate of 2.5% per year. The number one threat to this species is poaching – the illegal hunting and killing of Gorillas for body parts. Gorillas are hunted even in protected areas. Diseases, including Ebola virus, are another serious threat.
See more photos of the baby Gorilla below.