Wednesday Zen Moment: Gorilla mother cuddles her twins

Twins is an incredibly rare occurrence among mountain gorillas.

But on Jan. 18, trackers with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund spotted Isaro, a mother gorilla, holding two newborns, in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.


But now researchers are giving us a rare glimpse of the 2-month-old twins and their mother with a new video captured by the organization and posted to YouTube.

Almost three months after their births, the family is doing well. The twins are growing at the same pace, which suggests the 16-year-old mother is juggling the feeding demands of both. The infants have also added dense hair.


“I couldn’t believe my eyes because since I started working with the Fossey Fund in 2009, I had never experienced such an amazing event in the gorilla groups we monitor,” research assistant Didier Abavandimwehe said in a statement Tuesday. “When I saw them, the first thing that came to my mind was that the birth of Isaro’s twins is a blessing for everyone who works so hard for the survival of mountain gorillas.”

So how rare are gorilla twins?

Over the last 50 years, and 270 births, only three twin births have been observed among the group, the fund notes. The first set, born in 1986 survived just nine days. Another set, born in 2008 died the day they were born as a result of infanticide. The Rwanda Development Board has monitored another three sets of twins and two pairs survived.

“The birth of the twins is a gift in many ways,” gorilla program manager Veronica Vecellio said. “First for the pure beauty of nature, but also to remind us how vulnerable and precious gorillas are by just looking at the dedication of Isaro, thriving in such a severe environment with two babies to take care of.”


Photos The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International/YouTube

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