In the midst of bad news floating around Seattle, we’re glad to announce that the Woodland Park Zoo has welcomed the birth of a western lowland gorilla.
The baby, currently unnamed, was born on Wednesday, March 4 at 2:48 am. He is the first child of parents Uzumma and Kwame, who were paired under the Gorilla Species Survival Plan: a cooperative conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of gorillas.
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According to Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at Woodland Park Zoo, Uzumma is showing good maternal skills by properly holding her baby and being attentive to his needs.
Uzumma and her baby will be off view for a few months, bonding in a sleeping den where they’ll be monitored 24 hours a day and being closely observed for signs such as the infant grasping strongly to mom with feet and hands, soft vocalizing from mom in response to her infant vocalizing, mom properly positioning her baby, and baby nursing within the first 48 hours. “The first 72 hours of life are the most critical for a newborn gorilla,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.
Other members of Uzumma and Kwame’s group include 24-year-old Nadiri, 4-year-old Yola, and 18-year-old Akenji.
“Growing our gorilla family of different generations and ages creates more opportunities for the zoo to engage the community in taking important action to preserve gorillas into the future,” said Ramirez.
The unnamed baby is the 14th gorilla to be born at the zoo.