Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Endangered Gorilla Gives Birth at Philadelphia Zoo




By Kacey Deamer, Staff Writer | June 8, 2017 06:07pm ET

It's a boy! The Philadelphia Zoo recently welcomed a new addition to its gorilla family, with the help of doctors who normally treat humans.

A gorilla labor is typically quick and does not cause distress to the mother, according to zoo officials. However, zookeepers noticed that first-time mom Kira's labor was not progressing in normal fashion. When the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla grew tired and showed symptoms of feeling unwell, the zoo brought in veterinarians and other medical professionals to assist in the delivery using tools and procedures that are standard in human births. (Human and gorilla physiology is very similar.)

The team succesfully delivered the as-yet-unnamed baby gorilla, a healthy 5-pound (2 kilograms) boy, on Friday, June 2. 

"Our veterinary team had an advance plan in place that had us prepared for scenarios like this — and in this case that plan, and the skill of our keeper team, enabled a safe delivery for both Kira and her baby," Andy Baker, the Philadelphia Zoo's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "It was an anxious and dramatic day at the Zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one."

The baby gorilla's birth is also cause for celebration for the critically endangered western lowland gorilla population. Poaching, disease and habitat loss led the global populations in the wild to drop of more than 80 percent over three generations, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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