The Woodland Park Zoo welcomed its first baby gorilla since 2015, a baby boy, on Wednesday morning.
The unnamed baby is 12-year-old Uzumma’s first, and so far the new mom is showing good maternal instincts, director of animal health Dr. Darin Collins said. A video from the zoo shows the pair cuddling inside the indoor gorilla tunnel while Uzumma snacks on leafy greens.
“She’s holding her baby and being attentive,” Collins said in a news release. “We will do visual neonatal exams only and remain hands off. However, if there are any visible concerns, we will intervene.”
Uzumma and her baby are off view in a private enclosure for bonding and staff monitoring. The zoo expects them to be available for the public to view in a few weeks, once they’ve bonded and outside temperatures are at least 65 degrees.
The zoo spent time training Uzumma for maternal behaviors before the baby’s birth, calling different objects “baby” and training her to pick up and hold objects to her chest.
“These training sessions help reinforce what will hopefully be Uzumma’s natural understanding of how to pick up and correctly position the baby for nursing,” gorilla keeper Stephanie Jacobs said in a news release.
Uzumma also received human-like prenatal care: checkups, ultrasounds and supplemental vitamins. The gestation period for gorillas is 8 to 9 months.
Kwame, the 20-year-old father, came to the zoo in 2018 from Smithsonian’s National Zoo and was described as “a gorilla Vin Diesel.”
The zoo paired Uzumma and Kwame under the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, a conservation program across zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of gorillas. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered and only about 300,000 live in the wild.
The zoo has six other adult gorillas besides Uzumma and Kwame: 52-year-old Amanda, 41-year-old Vip, 34-year-old Jumoke, 24-year-old Nadiri, 18-year-old Akenji and 4-year-old Yola.
Amanda, Uzumma’s mother, is the zoo’s oldest animal after orangutan Chinta, 52, died in February.
“It will be fun to see Yola with a new playmate closer to her age,” mammal curator Martin Ramirez said. “We look forward to continue to grow our multi-generational gorilla family here at Woodland Park Zoo.”