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A baby gorilla is on the way: Nadiri is expecting!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

Nadiri, a 24 year old western lowland gorilla, is expecting her second baby—a younger sibling for Yola. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Oh baby... we have some exciting news to share! Nadiri, the mom of little Yola, is eating for two once again! We are announcing today that Nadiri has safely completed the first trimester of pregnancy and is expecting her second baby in late January or February 2021. The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months, similar to humans. The new baby sister or brother for Yola, who turns 5 in November, will be the first offspring between 24-year-old Nadiri and 20-year-old Kwame. Kwame is also the father of Kitoko, a boy born earlier this year to female Uzumma, so Nadiri's new baby will be a younger sibling for him too!

Kwame is the silverback of this gorilla family and the father of Nadiri's baby. This will be the second child for each of them at Woodland Park Zoo, and the first for them together. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo 

At birth in 2015, Yola endeared herself to animal fans around the globe because her mom didn’t immediately bond with her. Nadiri herself was partially hand-raised as an infant and didn’t have experience being a mom—therefore she never learned any maternal skills. That meant that Yola spent the first several months of her life under round-the-clock care by gorilla keepers and veterinary staff while having daily interactions with Nadiri to help her learn. The new mom’s maternal instincts eventually kicked in and Yola was reunited with her mom and the other members of her family.

Nadiri's maternal instincts eventually kicked in and the two became inseparable. Yola and Nadiri in 2016. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo  

The gorilla care team will prepare for every possible scenario for the birth. “We believe things will be different when Nadiri gives birth to her second infant,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Nadiri has gained valuable experience raising Yola. She has become more confident and has turned out to be an excellent mom to her firstborn.”

Another difference since Yola was born is the family dynamics. We mentioned that in March during the pandemic, Uzumma—another female who joined Nadiri's group a couple years agogave birth to her first baby, a boy named Kitoko. Nadiri has been able to watch the maternal care that Uzumma provides for her baby—so this offers yet another opportunity for her to learn. 

Uzumma gave birth to son Kitoko earlier this year. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

“Babies truly enhance the lives of gorilla groups and adding another baby to our gorilla family is wonderful news,” said Ramirez. “In no time at all, these babies will be playing with Yola and being mischievous tots together. Babies and juveniles living among adults presents a natural grouping and will be very enriching for the family. This will also be a dynamic experience for our visitors to learn about gorillas as they get a snapshot of how these majestic animals live in nature.” 

Nadiri, being followed by daughter Yola who is will be 5 years old in November of this year. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Nadiri and Kwame were paired under the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, which is a cooperative, conservation breeding program across zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of the species.

Gorillas in the wild typically live in groups of five to 10, composed of a dominant silverback (adult male), several adult females, adolescents, juveniles and babies. Sometimes groups can consist of two to more than 50 family members. Two groups of gorillas currently live at the zoo. Group one includes Kwame, Nadiri, Yola, Uzumma, Kitoko and Akenji. Group two includes our older gorillas, Vip (the father of Yola) and female Jumoke. 

Gorillas: the Largest Ape in the World 
  • Gorillas belong to the family of great apes: gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo and orangutan. Apes are found in Africa and Asia only.
  • Gorillas are muscular and very powerful. Adult males weigh between 350 and 600 pounds. Adult females weigh between 150 and 300 pounds.
  • Gorillas are primarily vegetarian. They eat leaves, other vegetation and fruits. Occasionally they’ll even snack on termites and ants!
  • The estimated population of western lowland gorillas in the wild is about 300,000.
How to Help Gorillas 

Every visit to Woodland Park Zoo supports conservation of animals in the wild Join the zoo by recycling old cell phones and other used handheld electronics through ECO-CELL to help preserve gorilla habitat. Reclaiming the minerals in electronics and diverting them from landfills help reduce demand for mining in gorilla habitat. Drop off used handheld electronics including cell phones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, adapters, chargers, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems and their accessories at drop boxes located at Page 2 both zoo entrances or the gorilla overlook. Funds generated from ECO-CELL support the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

ECO-CELL receptacle at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo: Elizabeth Bacher/Woodland Park Zoo 

Giving Day for gorillas! 

Another way to help gorillas, other species and the zoo as a whole is to join us on October 7 during All for Animals Giving Day. As a nonprofit organization, the zoo thanks you for your support and generosity. If you'd like, you can give early at 

P.S. Woodland Park Zoo is open and we'd love to see you. Please go to to purchase timed entry tickets.