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Buffalo Zoo welcomes baby gorilla

by jmaloni

Submitted piece

Fri, Sep 6th 2013 09:15 pm

The Buffalo Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby western lowland gorilla. The baby was born on Wednesday at 12:44 p.m. to first-time mother, 12-year-old Lily, and father, 26-year-old Koga.

Lily has displayed strong maternal instincts and is taking great care of the troop's latest addition. Keepers have not been able to get close enough to the baby to determine its gender, though they believe it is a girl. Both mother and baby are doing well.

During Lily's pregnancy, the keeper staff at the Buffalo Zoo was able to monitor the baby's growth using ultrasound technology. Lily had been trained to present her abdomen to keepers and remain calm during the ultrasound process, so she did not need to be anesthetized in order to obtain images of the fetus. The team worked with Bridget Gilewski, RT, RDMS, of Baby's Bungalow in North Tonawanda, who volunteered to assist with the ultrasound readings.

The Buffalo Zoo is one of the only zoos to have successfully measured the development of a western lowland gorilla in utero. Its research is important to the study and husbandry of gorillas.

The baby will join the gorilla troop, including her parents, as well as females Sydney and Amari, in their exhibit daily. During this sensitive time, the gorillas will be given access to their interior holding areas, should they desire more privacy. Visitors are advised that the gorillas may not always be visible, but are encouraged to check back often.

The gestation period of gorillas is eight and a half months. Gorillas begin walking when they are between 3 and 6 months of age, and are weaned around 3 years of age.

Western lowland gorillas are found in the lowland tropical forests of central Africa. The species is critically endangered due to loss of habitat as well as the bush meat trade.

Photo by Kelly Brown, Buffalo Zoo registrar

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