This is the 17th gorilla born at the Park. The baby was delivered by cesarean section and born with a collapsed lung and severe pneumonia. The neonate had surgery at birth, was treated for the pneumonia, and reunited with her mother at age 12 days.
Mama Imani has basically not put the baby down since the reunification.
Gorillas are such good mamas and could teach humans a thing or three about maternal child bonding.
The baby’s head lolls when it falls asleep. Mama is always holding baby’s hand as you can see in these pics.
Mama Imani was also a surrogate mother to Frank, now a five year old gorilla. She is still quite attached to Frank. All the park gorillas live in a troop with a silverback male leader you will see below.
Gorillas are an endangered species with approximately 100,000 left in the wild. There are however only 300 Cross River Gorillas and 720 Mountain Gorillas still alive in the wild. Mountain gorillas cannot survive in captivity, so if something dramatic isn’t done soon, they will be gone without a trace. Gorillas are poached for meat and trophies, and their habitat is being decimated. Humans of course are primates like gorillas, and we share over 99% of our DNA with our gorilla cousins.
One of the troop juveniles.
The Park is a special place. It is a non-profit organization that focuses on protecting and helping endangered species reproduce. Animals that are extinct in the wild are reproducing and being protected here until they can safely be reintroduced to the wild. It is not a zoo, with animals in cages, but a vast park where animals roam in herds and live in family groups. If you have a chance, and care about endangered animals, I would recommend a visit.
The papa, troop silverback male.
My son Matt volunteered for a year at the Institute for Conservation Research here, before going to graduate school in wildlife biology. This non-profit organization is a world leader in research for the protection of endangered species. Check it out: