PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Zoo welcomed a new and adorable addition to the family last week, a western lowland baby gorilla, CBS Philadelphia reported.
The gorilla was born on Friday to Honi, 21, and Motuba, a 31-year-old silverback male. The baby gorilla made its debut on Wednesday at the zoo.
The zoo said this is the second birth for Honi and the first for Honi and Motuba together.
“We are very excited to welcome Honi’s new baby,” said Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer.
According to Baker, the zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability.
“This birth is an opportunity to engage our visitors in caring about the future of gorillas in the wild,” Baker said.
Officials said mom and baby both appear healthy and they will continue to be monitored by staff in the coming weeks and months.
Like humans, officials said gorilla babies rely completely on their mother for care.
”Given Honi’s experience, we’re not surprised she’s been a great mother so far, but we’re very pleased that both she and the baby appear healthy,” said Baker.
The zoo said it will enlist the help of visitors, members and social media followers to help name the baby through a contest on the zoo’s website.
The infant currently lives in PECO Primate Reserve with mom Honi, dad Motuba and other troop mate female gorilla Kira.