Baby gorilla thriving at Woodland Park Zoo as keepers play surrogate mother

Being a first time mother is never easy – even for gorillas.

And, at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, Nadiri hasn’t quite settled into motherhood. The western lowland gorilla gave birth on Nov. 20 to a healthy, 5-pound girl. The gorilla is thriving even though zookeepers stepped in quickly to care for the newborn.

“Within moments of giving birth, Nadiri moved a few feet away from the baby and walked to the other side of her den,” the zoo said in a statement. “Keepers watching closely could see the infant was moving, though still wrapped in the amniotic sac. We made the call for the safety of the baby: it was time to intervene.”


Nadiri was partially hand-raised and does not have experience with motherhood. Still, curator Martin Ramirez and the other zookeepers hoped she would want to care for her baby. They are monitoring the pair around the clock and carefully continuing to expose the baby to Nadiri, who is showing some positive signs.

“She keeps her baby within line of sight and we hear content grunting, but she has not shown any interest beyond this and has not made a move to pick up her baby. While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we remain optimistic that her maternal behaviors will kick in,” Ramirez said in a statement Monday. “The best thing for a baby gorilla, or any animal, is to have its mom take care of it.”

The baby is feeding well and has a strong body temperature during the critical first 72 hours of life.


“Our focus over the next several days is to ensure this baby remains healthy and to keep moving forward with attempts to unite Nadiri with her baby,” Ramirez added. “We just need to be patient.”

Besides, who couldn’t love this face?


Photos Woodland Park Zoo/Facebook



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