Baby gorilla update: mom and 2-week-old baby are together and bonding
information from Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo is happy to report that gorilla mom Nadiri (naw-DEER-ee) and her new baby girl are now together bonding and the baby is thriving!
The newborn is the second baby for Nadiri and the first between her and dad, 21-year-old Kwame (KWA-may). The baby is unnamed but will be named soon.
Two weeks ago, the zoo celebrated the birth of a western lowland gorilla, the 15th gorilla born at the zoo. Nadiri gave birth to her second baby on January 29, 2021 but didn’t immediately pick her up to nurse or keep her warm enough the first day. Shortly after birth, gorilla and veterinary staff stepped in to provide round-the-clock care for the baby including bottle feeding her human infant formula, keeping her warm and providing her with short visits with her mother.
“During the first few days, Nadiri stayed close and picked up her baby for short periods but didn’t show interest in nursing her. However, she began holding her baby for longer periods and on day 10 she held her for 24 hours,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. Since those introduction sessions, the baby is now with mom full-time and she has started to nurse, but continues to be supplementally bottle-fed by the gorilla keepers.
Nadiri was partially hand-raised as an infant so the gorilla keepers worked with her through daily training sessions to help her develop good maternal skills when she was pregnant five years ago with her first-born, Yola, and during this second pregnancy. On cue, Nadiri had been trained to touch, pick up, cuddle, and bring a burlap “baby” doll to the keepers in case supplemental feedings were needed for her babies.
“Thanks to the dedication and expertise of our gorilla keepers, the training sessions have paid off. Nadiri brings her baby to the keepers for bottle feedings eight times a day and overnight,” said Ramirez. “We’re overjoyed that Nadiri has engaged with her baby and is providing good maternal care while allowing the keepers to nourish her baby.”
On February 12, Nadiri reached another milestone. “Nadiri turns 25 years old today! This is such a celebratory time with her and her baby bonding and growing closer each day. We wish her a very happy birthday!” said Ramirez.
The new family remains in the off-view bedrooms for bonding and privacy. Dad Kwame and another female member of the family, Akenji, have been successfully introduced to the mom and baby. Kitoko (ki-TOE-koh), a male who was born in March 2020 during the pandemic, will be introduced next week to the baby and family along with his mom, Uzumma, and Nadiri’s 5-year-old daughter, Yola.
In addition to Nadiri’s family group, another group lives separately at the zoo: Vip (father of Yola) and Jumoke.
Stay tuned to updates and milestones by visiting zoo.org/growingupgorilla and following the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #GrowingUpGorilla.
Become a ZooParent in honor of Nadiri's new baby!
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Help gorillas in their natural range
Every visit to Woodland Park Zoo supports conservation of animals in the wild. Join the zoo by recycling old cell phones and other used handheld electronics through ECO-CELL to help preserve gorilla habitat. Reclaiming the minerals in electronics and diverting them from landfills help reduce demand for mining in gorilla habitat. Drop off used handheld electronics including cell phones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, adapters, chargers, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems and their accessories at drop boxes located at both zoo entrances or the gorilla overlook. Funds generated from ECO-CELL support the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Zoo hours through April 30: 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. daily. Save 30% off summer admission rates now through March 31: www.zoo.org/visit.
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For more information or to become a zoo member, visit www.zoo.org or call 206.548.2500.