Taronga Zoo has welcomed the birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla. Born to mum Mbeli and father Kbeli, the new baby will be the seventh Lowland Gorilla at Taronga Zoo. Alison Smith, the primate keeper, says mother Mbeli is relaxed and confident and because of this the baby is getting stronger and stronger every day.
“Mbeli and baby are both doing very well and are bonding well. They are being closely watched by our Keepers and veterinary team as well as the baby’s inquisitive big brother, MJ who is almost two years old,” explains keeper Alison Smith.
The new gorilla is an extremely valuable addition to Taronga Zoo as the species is now considered critically endangered. The longevity of the species is seriously threatened by deforestation, habitat destruction, poaching and outbreak of disease.
Image: Taronga Zoo
The Western lowland Gorilla inhabits dense rainforest in Africa and populate Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
They spend most of their time on the ground socialising in communities of thirty or so individuals. The community is usually led by a singular silver-back gorilla. The silverback gorilla is typically remembered for his intimidating acts of aggression including beating his chest, throwing objects and charging.
Despite this, the Western Lowland is usually quite calm unless disturbed.
The female gorilla will give birth to just one baby after nine months of pregnancy. Researchers and keepers alike often find it uncanny how similar infant gorillas are to children. So much so, infant gorilla throw tantrums when they don’t get their own way. Taronga’s new infant gorilla will exhibit similar childish behaviour as it matures.
Image: Taronga Zoo
The Hon Gabriel Upton MP, Minister of Environment, praised Taronga’s efforts and is ecstatic with the new addition to the zoo.
The birth of this new baby gorilla is such exciting news, and helps to secure the future of the Western Lowland Gorilla, with as few as 100,000 remaining in the wild in the Congo Basin.
You can have your say naming the gorilla on Taronga’s website here. Those wanting to see the new gorilla, the best time to visit is during feeding time at 10.45am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
Header: Provided by Taronga Zoo
Information cited: Taronga Zoo