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Gorillas have a new family member! Uzumma gives birth to her first baby on March 4

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

It's a boy! We joyfully announce the birth of a western lowland gorilla. First-time mom, Uzumma, gave birth to a boy today, March 4 at 2:48 a.m.



VIDEO: Just a few hours after birth, first-time mom Uzumma and her baby are bonding and staying cozy indoors. Here, you can see Uzumma snacking on some greens while the baby stays warm and safe on her belly. Uzumma has settled into a quiet, hay-filled gorilla tunnel, her favorite sleeping spot, a walkway in between her indoor bedrooms.

This baby is the first between 12-year-old Uzumma and 20-year-old Kwame, who moved from Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2018.

Uzumma snacking on some greens in February 2020. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.
This newborn marks the 14th gorilla birth at Woodland Park Zoo. The last birth was Yola, a female born in November 2015.

The new mom and her baby are off view in the cozy, sleeping dens so they can bond in a hushed, comfortable environment and staff can closely monitor them.

For the next few days, Uzumma and her baby are under a 24-hour watch. “The first 72 hours of life are the most critical for a newborn gorilla,” says Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “We are closely observing for signs such as the infant grasping strongly to mom with feet and hands, soft vocalizing from mom in response to her infant vocalizing, mom properly positioning her baby that allows for nursing and the baby nursing within the first 48 hours.”

Having Uzumma raise her baby is a high priority and in the best interest of the infant. “So far Uzumma is showing good maternal skills. She’s holding her baby and being attentive,” says Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at Woodland Park Zoo. “We will do visual neonatal exams only and remain hands off. However, if there are any visible concerns, we will intervene.” 

Kwame, the silverback and father to the new baby. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.
"Each new gorilla is a symbol of hope for their cousins in the wild, for the forests they live in and for our planet,” says Ramirez. “Growing our gorilla family of different generations and ages creates more opportunities for the zoo to engage the community in taking important action to preserve gorillas into the future.”

It may be weeks before visitors can see mom and baby. Access for Uzumma and her baby to the outdoor public exhibit will be permitted once they are sufficiently bonded and outside temperatures are at least 65˚F in the gorilla shelter. Stay tuned for baby's milestones right here or by following our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We can't wait to share #GrowingUpGorilla with you!

You can also follow along on our dedicated page: https://www.zoo.org/growingupgorilla

Yola in November 2019. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.
The other members of Uzumma and Kwame’s group are: 24-year-old Nadiri; 4-year-old Yola, the daughter of Nadiri; and 18-year-old Akenji.

Uzumma and Kwame were paired under the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, which is a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of gorillas.

Uzumma loves to climb! Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
 
Woodland Park Zoo supports conservation efforts for the western lowland gorilla and mountain gorilla through the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

To help save gorillas, you can drop off used handheld electronics at the zoo: cell phones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, adapters, chargers, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems and accessories that come with them. The handheld electronics are turned over to ECO-CELL, which operates a strict NO LANDFILL program and reimburses organizations for their recyclable contributions. ECO-CELL reuses mineral ore from these devices to reduce the demand for unsustainable coltan mining in the Congo that destroys habitat for critically endangered gorillas. The zoo directs funds from ECO-CELL toward the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. 

To learn more about what you can do to help gorillas, join us at https://www.zoo.org/gorilla
Nadiri and Yola in 2016. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.

Comments

  1. What fantastic news! And look at how lovingly she holds the newborn.
    I hope we will hear nursing is underway very soon.
    Good work, Uzumma!

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  2. Congratulations Uzumma, Kwame, and WPZ! Well done. Can't wait to see this baby boy grow up in this group! We look forward to learning what he will be called too.

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  3. So excited! Zumma, you're a star my friend. A boy! Aww. Well done. I can't wait to meet him. Congrats to all the gorillas on this little guy. Congrats to gorilla keepers and the zoo in general. It takes a very big, very loving village. :)

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  4. Hi Gigi! Will you be posting any new photos of baby boy today? Any word on a name?

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  5. Gotta name the new baby boy, Denny. My good friend Denny shares the same birth date, a date in our calendar year to do something great, March fourth. 🥰

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  6. I was thinking that you flipped Mama's name around it would be cool Ammuzu

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  7. I heard you where looking for a name for the new bundle of joy. You should name it Corona

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