Gorilla born at Smithsonian National Zoo


The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute welcomed a male western lowland gorilla on Sunday evening. His mother, a 15-year-old named Calaya, began caring for him shortly after his birth, which is an excellent sign for the first time mother because sometimes, new gorilla mothers are either unable or unwilling to care for their newborns.

Zoo staff are ecstatic at Calaya's success in carrying Moke, and say initial impressions are that he will thrive in his mother's care.

'Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya'.

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

Calaya was taught to urinate on command to allow hormone analysis and to manipulate her breasts to assess lactation and allow nutrient evaluations.

Astonishing photographs and video from the National Zoo show the first interaction between a mother gorilla and her newborn baby. Brown also trained Calaya to present her chest so keepers could place the plush gorilla up to her breast to “nurse.”. Throughout her pregnancy, which lasted roughly nine months, Calaya received ultrasounds, hormone testing, and learned how to prepare her breasts for lactation.

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

The western lowland gorilla is a breed listed as critically endangered due to disease and poaching.

Note: Reporters will not be able to come to the Zoo for photos or video.

The baby's father waited respectfully nearby and let out a contented rumble when Moke was born.

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