Global News

Gorilla born at Smithsonian National Zoo

Gorilla born at Smithsonian National Zoo

A Western lowland gorilla gave birth to a male at 6:25 p.m. Sunday at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

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

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'.

Visitors may be sad to hear that the Great Ape House remains closed indefinitely to allow Calaya to nurse her infant.

She gave birth on her own and can be seen kissing and nursing Moke in the moments immediately following birth.




The extremely caring mother is seen in video footage holding onto her baby while keeping a locked gaze on him. Animal keeper Melba Brown noticed that Calaya learned best by watching the other gorillas train and repeating those actions.

She became pregnant last August. There are a lot of different personalities in this family troop, but they all work well together'. In the event that Calaya was unwilling or unable to care for her infant, keepers prepared Mandara, an experienced mother of six, to act as a foster mother as a precaution.

Westen lowland gorillas are native to Africa and live in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo.

Astonishing photographs and video from the National Zoo show the first interaction between a mother gorilla and her newborn baby.

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

Since Calaya's pregnancy was confirmed using a standard human pregnancy test in fall 2017, staff have been getting ready for Moke's arrival.


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