Philadelphia Zoo welcomes baby gorilla after emergency delivery

Posted June 08, 2017

This is the first birth for Kira and third offspring for 32-year old Motuba, who is also father to baby Amani, a female born at the zoo last August.

A team of veterinary and human medical specialists was called in to deliver a gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo after the mother, 17-year-old Kira, appeared to struggle during labor. Typically, labor is quick for gorillas.

Ayana, a Western lowland gorilla, was born in the early hours of April 22 to mother Touni and silverback gorilla father Jock. Due to concerns about her and the baby's health, the zoo brought in a team from the veterinary and human medical field.

This is the gorgeous smile that a baby gorilla gave doctors after they helped his mother through a particularly hard labour.

The surgeons, anesthesiologists and an OB-GYN were prepared to respond if anything went wrong during labor or Kira's pregnancy.

Baby gorilla is the newest — and most tummy-tickling — addition to Philadelphia Zoo
Gorilla gives birth with help from doctors who treat people

Andy Baker, the zoo's chief operating officer, said after the delivery: "It was an anxious and dramatic day at the zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one".

After one and a half hours, the team delivered a healthy 5-lb. baby boy. Although several gorillas have been successfully delivered by C-section during the past few years, the most recent case of an assisted vaginal delivery the zoo is aware of occurred in 2000.

Once Kira recovered from her anesthesia she was reunited with her baby boy "and has been continuously cradling and nursing him since", the zoo wrote.

Kira is a Western lowland gorilla, which live in African forests and are classed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Meanwhile, Dad Motuba is sticking close by to guard the family.

The baby male gorilla has not been named yet.