Thursday, October 28, 2010

First gorilla to be born at London Zoo for 20 years... but he will never see his father


Breakthrough: The baby gorilla has become the first to be born at London Zoo in 20 years and is pictured today with its mother. Both are said to be doing well

After tragedy, there was joy in the gorilla enclosure at London Zoo today with the arrival of a new baby - the first to be born there in 20 years.

And now staff are starting the delicate process of introducing the as-yet unnamed male to the head of the family - hulking Kesho.

The newborn western lowland gorilla was born to mother Mjukuu, 12, on Tuesday.

His father, Yeboah, died at the zoo in March after arriving in November 2009. He had been brought in as a mate to three female gorillas, Mjukuu, Zaire and Effie.

Yeboah was the second male gorilla to die at the zoo after Bobby, a 25-year-old silverback, died in December 2008.

Staff at the zoo began the 'sensitive' process of introducing the baby gorilla to his step-father, 11-year-old Kesho.

Mother and baby: The gorilla is expected to grow into a 25-stone silverback gorilla

In a statement, the zoo said: 'Introducing the baby to Kesho is not without its risks, however staff are making every effort to assist a smooth introduction and hopefully ensure the gorillas form a cohesive family group.'

Visitors to the Gorilla Kingdom attraction were also being told they may have to wait to see the young gorilla because of the delicate introduction process.

The baby was born after a labour described as 'straightforward' and was closely monitored by zoo staff. He is expected to grow up to become a 25-stone silverback gorilla.

Zoological director David Field said: 'Mother and baby are both doing brilliantly, although it's still early days.

'Aunties' Zaire and Effie were at the birth and have remained with Mjukuu throughout.'

The baby gorilla was getting 'lots of cuddles' this morning as zoo staff prepared to introduce him to 25-stone Kesho.

His step-father, who arrived in London from Dublin Zoo, is 11 in human years and 18 in gorilla years.

A spokeswoman for ZSL said staff were keeping a close eye on mother and baby as they bonded in their enclosure.

She said: 'The keepers said they are doing really well. The baby is with mum and he is getting lots of cuddles.'

Habitat:The baby gorilla will live at Gorilla Kingdom at London Zoo which has been designed to keep its gorilla inhabitants entertained

source: dailymail

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