MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Zoo announced on Wednesday, October 25th the birth of a western lowland gorilla. The baby is a female, and was born on September 9th to mother, Naku, and father, Cassius. Zookeepers report mother and baby are doing well.
A news release from the zoo indicates “Naku is a wonderful and very attentive mother, expertly nursing and caring for her newborn. The baby appears healthy, as keepers have reported her making eye contact with Naku and gripping onto mom’s stomach, as all newborns gorillas should do during their first six months of life. After that, the baby will “ride” on Naku’s back, eventually venturing off from her when ready. The baby will continue to nurse from mom until 4 to 5 years old; with solid foods introduced after the first few months. Babies may begin mouthing and exploring solid food/scraps that fall from mom’s mouth at three to four months of age.”
Zookeepers estimate the baby most likely weighed about three pounds at birth, and may now weigh about four pounds.
In the short term, the baby gorilla is on public exhibit on Wednesday, October 25th and Thursday, October 26th. The baby will be off exhibit on Friday — and back on public exhibit on Saturday and Sunday.
It is the Zoo’s hope that mom and baby, along with the family group of Cassius, Shalia and Sulaiman, will generally be on public exhibit most days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with random off-exhibit days, if necessary. Once Naku and the baby become more acclimated to their indoor area, there will be additional days that visitors can see them on exhibit.
In the lowland tropical rain forests of central Africa, western lowland gorillas are critically endangered, but are more common than their relatives, the mountain gorillas. Western lowland gorillas face increasing threats from disease, wildlife trade, poaching and human encroachment. Over the past 20-25 years, more than 60 percent of western lowland gorilla populations have seen a marked decline.