Taronga Zoo today announced the welcome birth of a male Western Lowland Gorilla. The adorable baby was born to mum Mbeli and father Kibali on Friday 1st September at 1.40pm.
Primate Keeper Alison Smith said the team are delighted with the addition to the family at Taronga Zoo.
“Mbeli is a very relaxed and confident mother. Her mother was a fantastic role model for her so she has taken that on and is really attentive toward the baby. In turn, the baby is getting stronger every day,” said Ms Smith.
“Mbeli and baby are both doing very well and are bonding well. They are being closely watched by our Keepers and veterinary team as well as the baby’s inquisitive big brother, MJ who is almost two years old,” Ms Smith said.
“MJ was present during the birth and he will be excited to start playing with his brother when he gets a little bit older,” she said.
This birth brings the number of Taronga’s Western Lowland Gorillas to seven. The newborn is an extremely valuable addition to world breeding programs for gorillas, helping insure against rapidly declining numbers of gorillas in Africa. Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered, with the long-term survival of this species under serious threat due to habitat destruction and deforestation, poaching and disease outbreaks like Ebola.
Minister for Environment, the Hon Gabriel Upton MP said the birth was a significant achievement for wildlife conservation.
“The birth of this new baby gorilla is such exciting news, and helps to secure the future of the Western Lowland Gorilla, with as few as 100,000 remaining in the wild in the Congo Basin,” said Minister Upton.
“This is just one insight into the important work Taronga Zoo does to ensure species thrive. Taronga Zoo plays an important role as a world leader in conserving threatened and endangered species in Australia and worldwide,” Minister Upton said.
“I congratulate Taronga Zoo on all of their efforts in ensuring the success of this birth,” said the Minister.
A competition will take place to name the new born gorilla over the next two weeks at Taronga.org.au.
Keen-eyed guests at Taronga Zoo can catch glimpses of the new arrival and his family throughout the day. The best viewing times are the Gorilla feeding sessions at 10.45am, 12.30am and 2.30pm.