Imani’s Newborn~

Imani is a 18 year old lowland gorilla at the San Diego Safari (Wild Animal) Park and this is her newborn baby delivered on March 12, 2014. (Please click to enlarge).

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:
Cheers to you from these magnificent gorillas, our gentle, kinder cousins!
For more info check out:

202 thoughts on “Imani’s Newborn~

  1. each one of this awesome family is a poster boy/girl for their age: the teen-ager looks goofy, Papa–stern. Mama preoccupied and loving, and baby all…the way babies are. Super good stuff, Cindy. 🙂


  2. Pingback: Sonntagsleserin KW #15 – 2014 | buchpost

  3. Not unlike me when I was one month old.
    The public have lobbied for kinder way to keep wild animals .
    Yet animals are kept in appalling conditions for comitial purposes so they can be slaughtered and sold to be eaten.
    I should resist putting a negative thoughts on such a beautiful post.
    Sorry Cindy, it just popped into my monkey mind.


  4. The last one looks kinda like my uncle Al, Cindy. The pics are wonderful and you give an insightful look to the plight of these threatened animals, Cuz. You da best !!!


  5. Oh, nooooooooo! There is no “Wild Animal Park” anymore. It’s now Safari Park, technically “San Diego Zoo Safari Park,” which can be confusing on the freeways because they put “San Diego Zoo” on one line and “Safari Park” on another line, leading some people to exit thinking they are going to the San Diego Zoo.


    • I know! I was born here. I just prefer the original name wild animal park. The name safari park reminds of big game hunting safaris in Africa and is so not what the Zoo or WAP are all about which is conservation. I think it’s a PR tool.. A rose by any other name perchance Russel?????


      • The problem, though, is that WAP is a very poor acronym, being an ethnic slur. In my 21 years here, you’re the first one I’ve ever heard (or read) call it WAP. I have eight friends who work there, though, and none of them call it WAP since, as I said, you are the first I’ve ever heard call it that. Nonetheless, your pictures are beautiful!


      • The slur you are referring to is not WAP and is spelled and pronounced quite differently and is a terrible acronym I won’t even spell out. Besides I wasn’t referring to the acronym but the original name Wild Animal Park. You are correct Russel. I will correct the name, tags and categories. I am a supporter of the conservation efforts of the Zoo and Safari Park by whatever name they are called. Peace Russel and cheers to you.


  6. This is an excellent post, both the pictures and the narrative. Seeing this mother and newborn obviously meant a lot to you. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post with us.


  7. I like how the mother holds the baby’s hands and grasps its fingers. It is so much like a human, in some respects. I adore animals and love the way you feature them in such beautiful portraits like these!


  8. These are incredible photos and information about gorillas! Thank you for sharing, Cindy. They are as close to us as any animal. Maybe we can learn something from them.


  9. I am amazed the mother gorilla accepted her baby after 12 days! Usually bonding his to come within the first 36 hours. How were you able to get these photos? Do you live in San Diego, California or in Europe? Please elaborate! I am anxious to know.


    • She is just a very nuturing gorilla who has been a surrrogate mother to another young gorilla who was orphaned. I love in a rural area of north eastern San Diego, about a half hour drive from the wild animal park.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Back during WW2, my family lived in San Diego because my father was Navy. While he was overseas, mother took us to San Diego Zoo several times. I have good memories of those trips.

        I have a funny memory about San Diego itself. My parents allowed me to be used as a “guinea pig” for one of the classes at San Diego College. I could write with both hands and also write both directions as easily. The professor there experimented with my skill as a mirror writer just to be sure it was real. It was great for me, as a four year-old, to be on display like that.


      • I was born here and I too have lots of memories of going to the zoo. My son mirror wrote. Interesting experience you had, must have been SDSU as UCSD wasn’t built until later. San Diego was quite a different place back than, much better actually than now! Cheers to you & thanks~


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