Skip to main content

Baby gorilla introduction sessions showing progress in tiny steps

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo

At almost a month old!
Introductions between first-time mother Nadiri and her new baby are moving along at a slow pace, but a step in the right direction is good news, no matter how tiny those steps may be.

The baby western lowland gorilla, a female, was born November 20 to 19-year-old Nadiri. After giving birth naturally, Nadiri did not pick up her baby. Staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest. Because Nadiri does not have experience with motherhood, the zoo prepared for different outcomes while Nadiri was pregnant, including human intervention.

Zoo gorilla and veterinary staff are providing 24/7 care for the baby gorilla behind the scenes in the gorillas’ sleeping quarters in a den next to Nadiri. The mom and the other two members in her group can see the baby, and the baby is immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of gorillas.

According to Nancy Hawkes, the general curator at Woodland Park Zoo, an introduction session over the weekend was the most positive one since the baby was born. “Nadiri gently lifted her baby’s chin with one hand to look at her and leaned forward on her elbows to be at face level. She cupped her head in both of her hands and softly touched her eyes and put her face and mouth against her baby’s face. She also playfully, but very gently, patted her cupped hands against the baby’s head,” explained Hawkes.

Adorable barometer is officially off the charts.
Nadiri is given the choice to be with her baby several times a day. “She still enters the den during each session and stays near her baby. While each session is positive, the progress is in tiny steps and we still have a way to go in terms of seeing consistent maternal behavior,” added Hawkes. “Nadiri is interacting with her baby at her own pace and we’re encouraged by the positive behavior toward her baby.”

At almost a month old, the baby gorilla is bottle fed human infant formula on demand and currently weighs just over 6 pounds. “She’s showing normal weight gain and her two lower front teeth have come in, so she is in the teething phase,” said Hawkes.

Two little teeth are showing!
The zoo will continue to provide hands-on care for the baby gorilla for the next three months while introducing Nadiri to her baby as long as the introduction sessions remain positive. Thank you for sending positive vibes to this little one, she has certainly captured the hearts of her keepers and animal health staff.

The baby gorilla will be named at the beginning of the new year and we will share details about the naming right here.


She's precious....keep up the good work!
Anonymous said…
What a sweet baby! Sending good thoughts that Nadiri will continue on a positive path to Motherhood! Thank you to all the zoo staff for all you do!
Joyce said…
Congratulations to the gorilla crew. Good luck getting any sleep for a while. She's definitely worth all the trouble you are taking!
fitbabs said…
thanks for the updates, pics and the GREAT WORK!
Anonymous said…
Amazing! Great work! Hope her mother accepts her soon! And begins to care for her!
SJSiff said…
I had a little girl in November as well (five days earlier--but my older daughter's birthday is 11/20!), I was just wondering what Nadiri's baby eats. I'm glad there's a good option readily available for her, and really happy that Nadiri is continuing to make progress bonding with her.