The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : A Western Lowland Baby Gorilla Was Born At The Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, Illinois

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Western Lowland Baby Gorilla Was Born At The Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, Illinois

Baby Gorilla
There's a new reason for families to swing over to Lincoln Park Zoo. A western lowland gorilla was born there in this week. Visitors can get their first glimpse starting Saturday.

The zoo is cautiously optimistic about the baby's health.

"The infant is looking very strong; it's clinging tightly to mom, and we're seeing a really good pattern of nursing for several minutes from both breasts then taking a nap afterward," said Maureen Leahy, curator of primates.

Mom Bahati, age 27, shows solid maternal instincts, Leahy said.

"At this stage, although the infant can cling on and sort of support herself, she can't do it for very long," Leahy said. "Mom will hold her close and tight to her chest even when she's out and about or climbing. We look for her to support the baby's head, very much like humans."

The newborn joins a troop of six individuals, including 2-year-old half-sisters Nayembi and Patty, born at the zoo in fall 2012. At one point, Patty approaches the newborn slowly, then reaches to brush her fingers over her nose as mom munches hay.

That's where silverback dad Kwan, 25, comes in.

"He is doing a really good job keeping a watchful eye over the new mom and infant," Leahy said. "The two toddlers are very curious; they've been approaching a lot and touching the infant, but when they start getting too bold, Kwan will come over and sit down next to Bahati and kind of cue the toddlers to take a step back and give the new mom a break."

Bahati had not given birth since 2004. Her two adult offspring now reside in other Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoos.

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