Gorilla Cradles Her Newborn Baby And Gently Kisses Him

April 17, 2018

For the first time in nine years, primate staff at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington D.C. are celebrating the birth of a male western lowland gorilla.

gorilla hudding and kissing newborn baby
Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo

First-time mother Calaya gave birth to her son, Moke, at 6:25 p.m. on Sunday, April 15.

Zoo officials captured the special moment and shared the video of Moke's birth on their website.

"We are thrilled to share that western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a male at 6:25 p.m. yesterday. His name, Moke [pronounced mo-KEY], means "junior" or "little one" in the Lingala language. Primate keepers are happy to report that Calaya has been caring for her infant and are optimistic he will thrive."

"The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole," said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates at Smithsonian's National Zoo. "The primate team's goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother. Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya."

According to the primate team, Calaya is providing excellent care to Moke and has been nursing and cradling him closely.

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