The zoo announced on Friday it is helping a 19-year-old western lowland gorilla, named Nadiri, get ready for her first-time birth.

Share story

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is preparing to welcome a new addition to its animal family: a baby great ape.

The zoo is helping a 19-year-old western lowland gorilla named Nadiri get ready for her first-time birth in early November, according to post on the facility’s website Friday.

Zoo keepers are giving her vitamins, watching her nutrition and training her with a burlap sack  — modeled after the size of a newborn ape — to prepare her for the birth, the announcement read. The last gorilla birth at the zoo was in 2007, according to the post.

“This is big news, and since Nadiri is not an experienced mother, we’re taking extra precautions to prepare her,” the post read.

Keepers are planning heavy monitoring for the first 72 hours after the birth, which for apes, are critical for forming parental bonds, the post says. Some gorillas don’t show interest in their newborns after they’re born, so facility staff will be closely watching to see if Nadiri nurses properly and keeps the baby close, the post says.

If the mother rejects the newborn, or is unable to provide proper maternal care, the zoo will look at other options for care-taking, such as finding a surrogate mother at another zoo, the post says.

The father of Nadiri’s expected baby is 36-year-old Vip, who has sired four other gorillas, according to the post.