Gorilla Nadiri rejected her infant after birth nearly two weeks ago, but Woodland Park Zoo staff remain optimistic she’ll show stronger maternal behavior.
For the next few months, Woodland Park Zoo staff will continue feeding and caring for the baby gorilla born nearly two weeks ago to first-time mother Nadiri.
The 19-year-old mother, who walked away from her newborn after giving birth, is still not showing strong maternal behavior, according to a zoo news release. Zoo staff remain optimistic that she will warm up to the infant with time and exposure, zoo spokeswoman Gigi Allianic said.
The zoo plans to name the baby ape after the holidays, according to the release.
For about three months, zookeepers and veterinary staff plan to care for the nearly 6-pound baby around the clock and are setting up several times a day for her and her mother to spend time together, the release says.
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“[Nadiri is] in a den next to her baby, and she sees her whenever she wants,” Allianic said.
Nadiri sometimes touches the crying baby in a calming way and grunts contentedly when she sees her, zoo- mammal curator Martin Ramirez said in the release.
She still has yet to pick her baby up, he said.
“It isn’t strong maternal behavior yet, but we’re encouraged by these positive sessions and gestures of interest,” Ramirez said.
If Nadiri’s bond doesn’t strengthen in a few months, zoo staff will consider taking other steps, such as introducing the baby to a different female gorilla at the zoo to be her primary caregiver, according to Allianic.
As a last resort, the zoo may consider finding a surrogate gorilla caregiver elsewhere, she said.
Nadiri was rejected by her own mother and raised by zoo staff for the first 10 months of her life.
The new baby was the first gorilla born at the zoo in eight years.