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Uzumma and baby thriving and bonding

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Uzumma gave birth to a baby boy in the wee hours of March 4 and we’re happy to report that mama and baby both appear healthy and are doing well.

Uzumma holding her 4-day-old baby in her arms.
Here are some of the first pictures we’ve been able to get since the birth—and you can see the heartwarming bond that’s developing between Uzumma and her newborn, who is not yet named.

This baby is the first between 12-year-old Uzumma and 20-year-old Kwame. This is also Uzumma's first time as a mom and so far she is rocking it!
Our dedicated gorilla keepers, who know them best, tell us that Uzumma is a wonderful first-time mother. They say she’s gaining more confidence each day and tending to all her baby’s needs. She’s very attentive—just like her mother Amanda was with her—and hasn’t put the baby down once. As for the tiny gorilla, he is bright-eyed and seems to be observing his surroundings more and more each day.

VIDEO: Uzumma and her 5-day-old baby: 

Gorilla keeper Stephanie Jacobs tells us that Uzumma often gently touches the back of her baby’s head and ears with her mouth as he nurses. It’s hard not to interpret these as gorilla-style kisses. Uzumma also pats and strokes his head, and gently bobs him up and down against her chest when he needs comforting.

First-time-mom and baby are staying cozy and bonding indoors for now.
Stephanie says Uzumma is immediately responsive to any whimpers her baby makes, adjusting his position, or her own, until he settles. And nursing is going well, too. Our keepers and veterinary staff are monitoring this to make sure the newest member of our gorilla family is getting enough milk from Uzumma. Judging by his condition—he appears hydrated, alert, and is clinging on to mom as a gorilla baby should—it seems all is well. These two are establishing a lovely bond and rhythm with one another.

The rest of Uzumma’s family group is doing well too. For the most part, everyone is giving Uzumma and baby a little extra space. Yola is very curious, but also respectful and not bothering Uzumma and baby in any way. Akenji is curious too, and has sat around 7 feet away from the new mother and son, taking it all in with great interest. The entire group is keeping a bit of distance from the new mom, but watching intently and taking their cues from Uzumma.

The little gorilla has all of his group curious about the new arrival and all of the zoo staff are absolutely smitten.
There is a calm presence in the group and everyone seems content with attention from their keepers, lots of browse, treats and warm naps.

To learn more about gorilla conservation and how your visit directly supports our mission to help these endangered species, please visit

It may be a bit 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:

Uzumma holds her newborn close.


LoveApes said…
This is the most perfect, the most wonderful news. The photos are beautiful.
wenfot said…
In a sad and fearful world, we needed this. Nature is healing in so many ways. Thank you WPZ for keeping us updated on them!
Nanna said…
Congratulations lovely photos of Mom and her Son
Unknown said…
So very beautiful
Anonymous said…
Incredible nurture and attention!
This comment has been removed by the author.
This comment has been removed by the author.
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