4-pound primate: Endangered gorilla born in New Orleans

Animals

NEW ORLEANS (AP/WGNO) — An itty bitty baby gorilla has been born at a zoo in New Orleans.

Keepers didn’t immediately know the sex of the critically endangered western lowland gorilla born on September 4 to 13-year-old Tumani and father Okpara.

“Tumani’s been holding it close to her chest, so it is hard to tell,” said Liz Wilson, Audubon Zoo curator.

Photos and video from the zoo show 13-year-old mom Tumani cuddling her tiny newborn.

Gorilla babies weigh about 4 pounds (1.8-kilograms) at birth.

Once keepers knew Tumani was pregnant, she was trained to carry a baby using a “doll” made from firehose canvas.

Western lowland gorillas were declared critically endangered in 2007 because of habitat loss, losses from the Ebola virus, and being hunted illegally for their meat.

The baby is at least the second western lowland gorilla born at a U.S. zoo this year.

A female was born January 18 at the Los Angeles Zoo. This is Audubon’s first gorilla birth in nearly 25 years.

The zoo’s firstborn gorilla is Praline, who is 24 years old and still at the zoo, where the troop also includes a third female, Alafia.

The zoo says its entire primate area will be closed while Tumani and the entire troop bonds with the baby.

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