Baby gorilla born at National Zoo


The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., welcomed a baby gorilla Sunday - its first gorilla born at the zoo in nine years.

The baby's name, Moke, means "junior" or "little one" in Lingala, the zoo said.

The Smithsonian says that mother and son have been bonding quietly in the zoo's Great Ape House and staff are optimistic that Moke will thrive. Mandara successfully fostered six infants, and she was ready to step in if Calaya had difficulty with her son, but it looks like Calaya and Moke will get along just fine as mother and son.

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'We will provide support to her if need be, but I have every confidence that Calaya will be a great mom to Moke.

Calaya, a 15-year-old gorilla, is seen cradling her baby and kissing the new-born several times before putting him down for a nap inside the enclosure. The gorilla quickly mastered basic husbandry behaviors, which formed the basis for more complicated maternal training, including ultrasounds, urinating on cue for hormone analysis and breast manipulation for lactation assessments and nutrient analysis. I am excited to see how he will fit into the group dynamic. They are considered a critically endangered species according to the Smithsonian.

Western lowlands live in central African countries including the Republic of the Congo, DRC, Cameroon and Gabon.

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Because they live deep in remote and heavily forested areas, it is hard to estimate the total numbers of gorillas in the wild.

"This infant's arrival triggers many emotions - joy, excitement, relief - and pride that all of our perseverance in preparing Calaya for motherhood has paid off", Ms Brown said.

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