Baby boy joy for Dublin Zoo
When you're born weighing only 4lbs and share an enclosure with six 400lb western lowland gorillas, it's no surprise if mum wants to keep you wrapped up and out of harm's way. But now that baby is safe, zookeepers at Dublin Zoo have finally had the chance to study their newest arrival, and can finally reveal it's a boy!
Born on the 29th of March, the smallest member of Dublin Zoo's gorilla group will be kept firmly cradled by proud mum Lena for the next two to three months for his own protection.
With silverback father Harry keeping a watchful eye on the tiny youngster and brothers Alfie (8) and Evindi (5) ready to play when he does finally leave his mother's arms, all that's missing for this hairy tot is a name.
As the youngest gorilla is yet to be named the Zoo have invited visitors to suggest a name based on his West African roots. Visitors will be able to submit suggestions in the Learning & Discovery Centre over the coming months and anyone really eager for a glimpse of the newborn will be able to catch up with him on RTE's The Zoo which airs on Friday evenings.
Ciaran McMahon, the team leader responsible for gorillas said, “We were eager to find out the sex of the newborn and I’m delighted to say that both mum and baby are doing extremely well. Lena is an experienced mother and we have every confidence in her nurturing and rearing a healthy baby boy.”
As a relative with DNA that differs by only 1.6% to humans, western lowland gorillas are one of our closest animal relatives yet are currently on the Red List of Threatened Species. With numbers set to fall by as much as 80% before 2046 due to loss of habitat and the highly contagious Ebola Virus, Dublin Zoo’s gorillas are part of a precious breeding population of 400 animals currently living in European zoos.
You can also catch the newborn’s incredible first moments exclusively on www.youtube.com/zootvseries and if you're thinking of taking the kids along on a visit to Dublin Zoo here's our guide to some special events worth looking out for;
April 24th: Meet the Farmer sessions
Join Dublin Zoo's resident Farmer for a session on the family farm. Learn about how farms work, how the animals feed and get down and dirty with the farm's very own piglets. No pre-booking required.
April 24th and 25th: Easter Bunny Disco
Celebrate Easter weekend at Dublin Zoo where you can discover more about egg laying birds, meet some giant rabbits from New Zealand and enjoy some zoo themed Easter arts and crafts. There will also be a fun Easter trail and on Sunday anyone with dancing feet can enjoy a very special Easter Bunny disco!
April 27th & 28th: Spring Day Camps
Children aged 6-12 years can explore topics of interest around the zoo and learn from the enthusiastic staff about everything from wildlife to farming. Programmes are tailored for different age levels and include a short classroom session and some special activities with the Zoo's own resident farmer.
Tickets cost €25.
May 4th: Parent and Toddler Family Farm
Bring your infant or toddler to the zoo and enjoy the sights, sights sounds and experiences of spring. As a special treat children will help prepare lunch for the rabbits! This is an event for parents, grandparents or carers with young toddlers.
Pre-booking is essential for tickets which cost €10 for adults and children go free.
May 7th: Junior Readers Club
Dublin Zoo's Junior Readers Club aims to bring to life reading in a completely different environment. Featuring readings by authors and using books they'll love the fun reading sessions are aimed at children from 7-9 years of age and are organised by Dublin Zoo's education department.
Tickets cost €10 and pre-booking is essential. See Dublin Zoo website to book.
May 28th and 29th: Native Species Weekend
Following on from the success of previous years Dublin Zoo have partnered with a variety of Irish wildlife organisations to host a weekend dedicated to our native species. The special event features a range of activities and the opportunity for participants to learn how we can preserve our wildlife and make a difference to our environment. Plenty to keep children and adults busy.
Normal admission rates apply.
For more information and booking, see the Dublin Zoo website or call 01-4748932