Woodland Park Zoo’s baby gorilla Kitoko will have a companion next spring: 24-year-old Nadiri is expecting her second baby in February or March.
The baby will be the first offspring between Nadiri and Kwame, who joined the zoo in 2018 and was described as “a gorilla Vin Diesel” for his popularity with female gorillas. Kwame is the father of Kitoko, born this spring to mother Uzumma.
Nadiri gave birth to Yola in November 2015 and didn’t immediately bond with her. Zoo staff cared for Yola while giving her time to interact with her mother, and the two were eventually reunited when Nadiri’s maternal instincts kicked in.
The zoo’s staff believes things will be different with Nadiri’s second infant.
“Nadiri has gained valuable experience raising Yola,” mammal curator Martin Ramirez said in a news release. “She has become more confident and has turned out to be an excellent mom to her firstborn.”
Gorillas in the wild usually live in groups of five to 10, and the new baby will join a growing group at Woodland Park Zoo. Kwame, the dominant male, lives with three adult females: Nadiri, Uzumma and Akenij. Their group also includes 4-year-old Yola and 7-month-old Kitoko. Vip and Jumoke, both adults, live in the zoo as a separate group.
“Babies truly enhance the lives of gorilla groups and adding another baby to our gorilla family is wonderful news,” Ramirez said. “Babies and juveniles living among adults presents a natural grouping and will be very enriching for the family.”
Gorillas have an eight- to nine-month gestation period, similar to humans. Nadiri has completed the first trimester of her pregnancy.
The zoo paired Nadiri and Kwame under the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, a conservation program to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of gorillas across accredited zoos. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered and about 300,000 live in the wild.