It has been a bittersweet spring at the Calgary Zoo.
The facility hadn’t welcomed a baby gorilla to its troop of western lowland gorillas in eight years. That was until March 9 when Kioja gave birth to a little girl.
More than 47, 000 people offered their favourite names, and Kimani won the vast majority of votes. (Maisha and Tulia were way behind in the naming contest.)
“Kimani – pronounced ‘key-MA-nee’; an African inspired name meaning beautiful and sweet,” the zoo announced this week.
The thriving baby comes as she lost her father, Kakinga.
The silverback, and long-term leader of the troop, was 37-years-old when he died earlier this month. The gorilla developed a large tear in his aorta, which caused the sac around his heart to become filled with blood and ultimately stopped his heart, the zoo said.
The search is now on to find a new silverback to bring to the facility.
Meanwhile, female gorilla Zuri, 19, continues to improve after requiring emergency surgery last month to treat a “severe abdominal infection.” She sleeps a lot, is eating some solid foods and her infection is gone. Still, she’s in serious condition and being monitored by veterinarians.
How has the troop has been doing since the death of Kakinga and so much change?
“As expected, they have been showing some signs of stress, acting restless or straying from their diets, but we also seen good days when they are calm and playful. It is natural for the troop to be unsettled and there will still be many difficult moments in the future, but we will continue to work hard to provide them with the best care possible,” the zoo said.
And, this little girl is helping mend all kinds of broken hearts.
Photos Calgary Zoo