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Hello little one! Western lowland gorilla, Nadiri, gives birth to healthy baby girl

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

Hello sweetness!

We're thrilled to welcome the newest member of our western lowland gorilla family. After an eight to nine month pregnancy, 24-year-old Nadiri gave birth at 10:25 a.m. on January 29, 2021! The newborn is the second baby for Nadiri, and the first between her and dad, 21-year-old Kwame. 

Watch footage of the new baby:

Shortly after birth, zoo gorilla and veterinary staff had to step in and place the baby under round-the-clock care in the gorilla building because Nadiri had not picked up her baby to nurse or keep her warm enough the first day. Staff are nourishing the baby by bottle feeding her human infant formula, keeping her warm and providing her with short visits with her mother; the baby is doing well.

The first 72 hours of life are the most critical for a newborn gorilla. “We will continue to provide hands-on care while keeping the baby in close proximity to Nadiri 24/7 and attempting to reintroduce her to mom,” says Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. Nadiri has visual, auditory and olfactory contact with her baby. “We will continue to introduce Nadiri to her baby. She is staying close and has picked up her baby for short periods over the weekend, but has not shown any interest in nursing her. By doing short introduction sessions frequently throughout each day, we hope her maternal instinct will soon kick in.”

The newborn is the second baby for 24-year-old Nadiri and the first between her and dad, 21-year-old Kwame.

In 2015, Nadiri gave birth to her first offspring, Yola, who was sired by Vip. Because Nadiri was partially human-raised as an infant and had no experience as a mom, she did not know what to do when she gave birth. Therefore, 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 her mom. The new mom’s maternal instincts eventually engaged and Yola was reunited with her mom and the other members of her family.

“We had worked with Nadiri to prepare for this moment and were optimistic this time around that Nadiri would pick up her baby and show maternal care. However, while Nadiri periodically touched her baby just after giving birth, she never picked up her newborn the first day,” says Ramirez.

Gorilla keepers and veterinary staff closely monitored the birth and post-birth while trying to encourage Nadiri to pick up her baby. “However, an hour later it was necessary for us to intervene for the baby’s well-being,” adds Ramirez. 

The zoo’s animal health team performed a neonatal exam about an hour after birth. “The baby’s vital signs are good and she’s healthy and physically normal,” says Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at Woodland Park Zoo. “The newborn weighs 4.9 pounds. The average weight for a gorilla at birth is 4 pounds, so she’s within the norm.”

Following the exam, the baby was returned to her mom while gorilla care staff continued to encourage maternal behaviors in Nadiri. “We prepared for every possible scenario including having to bottle feed and provide round-the-clock care for the baby until Nadiri shows interest,” says Ramirez. While she has held her baby since then, she has not yet nursed her.

The new mom and her group will remain in the off-view dens so mom can remain with her family, including daughter Yola. There may be days when other members of the group rotate in the public outdoor habitat.

Our new little one is the 15th gorilla born at Woodland Park Zoo and the second for father Kwame who also sired our last baby, Kitoko with 13-year-old female Uzumma last March. He has proven himself to be a gentle, playful and patient dad to the nearly 1-year-old boy. The new baby girl is a half-sister for both little Kitoko and 5-year-old Yola—and we fully expect the next months and years to be filled with lots of playful and mischievous antics for both the youngsters and adults!

Kwame shares breakfast with Kitoko last October. Photo: Woodland Park Zoo

“Bringing a baby gorilla into the world is always exciting not only for us here at the zoo, but also the community as a whole. 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.”

Two groups of gorillas currently live at the zoo. Group one: Kwame, Nadiri and her infant, Yola, Uzumma, Kitoko and Akenji. Group two: Vip and Jumoke. Nadiri 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.

We know you are all eager to hear updates about mom and baby and we'll do our very best to share any benchmarks with you here on the blog as well as at We are so touched by your many notes of congratulations and are excited to celebrate this baby girl with you all!

Nadiri and her first baby, Yola, in 2015. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Growing Up Gorilla 
We invite you to follow all the exciting news about Nadiri and her new baby as well as updates about little Kitoko, by visiting

You can do more for gorillas!
Woodland Park Zoo supports conservation efforts for western lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas through the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. To help save endangered gorillas, you can drop off your old 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 recycles and reuses mineral ore contained inside them to reduce the demand for unsustainable coltan mining in the Congo that destroys habitat for critically endangered gorillas. Then ECO-CELL pays Woodland Park Zoo for their recyclable contributions and we can direct all of those funds toward the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. 

Yola will play big Sis to both Kitoko and the newest baby!

Adopt a ZooParent in honor of Nadiri's new baby!
ZooParent adoptions—which can include a plush toy—are the perfect way to celebrate our newest addition at home. Your ZooParent adoption helps us provide exceptional care for all of Woodland Park Zoo's amazing animals. Plus, your support contributes to our conservation efforts at the zoo and around the world. 


Jean said…
Congratulations to the zoo, the gorilla keeper staff, and our vet dept who are all the best ever!! Jean Ragland
Unknown said…
wonderful postings. Keep it up. We are enthralled.
Unknown said…
Thank you for all the wonderful work you do to preserve species. The baby is so precious.
Joyce said…
Congratulations to Nadiri, and the zoo staff! Woodland Park Zoo's gorilla program has been quite successful through the years, and that continues now. Good luck with Nadiri...practice makes perfect.
Unknown said…
I can't love this enough! Congratulations to the Woodland Park Gorilla Program on this important success.
Unknown said…
It is so important for humans to understand that the primates are our ancestors and need their habitat to survive... Remember they can't go to a bank for housing like we can. This little miracle deserves everything we can give her. So adorable