New adorable baby gorilla has 'put a smile on everyone’s face' at Dublin Zoo
Published 18/07/2016 | 13:03
There are celebrations at Dublin Zoo as they welcomed a new baby gorilla on Saturday July 16.
The family favourite gorilla Lena, gave birth to the healthy baby that weighs approximately 1.8kgs and so far keepers have been unable to determine the gender because Lena is keeping the baby close to her chest.
Lena, who was born in 1984, is an experienced mother and this is her seventh baby. The baby’s father was silverback Harry who passed away in May.
Helen Clarke-Bennett, leader of the animal care team responsible for the gorillas said:
“We are absolutely thrilled with the birth of the baby gorilla. The youngster is doing very well and is very bright and alert. Within minutes the baby was feeding from mum Lena which is a very good sign.
“Lena is a great mother and so far she hasn’t let go of her new-born. She will continue to cradle the baby in her arms non-stop for the next two to three months. When she does eventually let the toddler out of her arms to explore, the youngster won’t go far because Lena will not allow the baby go more than an arms length away.”
Clarke-Bennett said that the new arrival have “put a smile on everyone’s face” as the zoo was mourning Harry the gorilla.
“Big brother Kituba is taking a keen interest in the new arrival and the rest of the troop has reacted very well. The new arrival is a great success for Dublin Zoo as part of the European breeding programme for these critically endangered primates.”
Western lowland gorillas are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The numbers of these primates living in the wild is expected to fall by over 80pc between 1980 and 2046 with commercial hunting and a highly contagious virus called Ebola being the two main threats facing their survival.