A baby sister or brother is on the way for gorilla Yola at Woodland Park Zoo
information from Woodland Park Zoo
Nadiri (NAW-dee-ree), the mom of popular gorilla Yola, is eating for two! Woodland Park Zoo is excited to announce that Nadiri has completed the first trimester of pregnancy and is expecting her second baby in late February/early March 2021.
The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months, similar to humans.
The new baby sister or brother for Yola, who turns 5 in November, will be the first offspring between 24-year-old Nadiri and 20-year-old Kwame (KWA-may).
At birth, Yola endeared herself to animal fans around the globe because her mom didn’t immediately bond with her. Nadiri was partially handraised as an infant and didn’t have experience being a mom. Therefore, she didn’t show strong maternal skills. Yola spent the first several months of her life under round-the-clock care by gorilla keepers and veterinary staff while having daily interactions with Nadiri. The new mom’s maternal instincts eventually kicked in and Yola was reunited with her mom and the other members of her family.
The gorilla care team will prepare for every possible scenario for the birth. “We believe things will be different when Nadiri gives birth to her second infant,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Nadiri has gained valuable experience raising Yola. She has become more confident and has turned out to be an excellent mom to her firstborn.”
What’s also different since Yola was born is the family dynamics, which changed when the zoo moved female Uzumma from another group at the zoo to Kwame and Nadiri’s group a couple years ago. In March during the pandemic, Uzumma gave birth to her first baby, a boy named Kitoko.
Gorillas in the wild typically live in groups of five to 10, composed of a dominant silverback (adult male), several adult females, adolescents, juveniles and babies. Sometimes groups can consist of two to more than 50 family members.
“Babies truly enhance the lives of gorilla groups and adding another baby to our gorilla family is wonderful news,” said Ramirez. “In no time at all, these babies will be playing with Yola and being mischievous tots together. Babies and juveniles living among adults presents a natural grouping and will be very enriching for the family. This will also be a dynamic experience for our visitors to learn about gorillas as they get a snapshot of how these majestic animals live in nature.”
Nadiri and Kwame were paired under the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, which is a cooperative, conservation breeding program across zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of the species.
Two groups of gorillas currently live at the zoo. Group one: Kwame, Nadiri, Yola, Uzumma, Kitoko and Akenji. Group two: Vip and Jumoke.