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Baby gorilla Zuna spending time outdoors with mom, Nadiri, and the rest of her family

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

Oh, that face!

Baby gorilla, Zuna, is ready to say hello to zoo visitors! The 11-week-old western lowland gorilla—the second baby for 25-year-old mom Nadiri and the first between her and 21-year-old father, Kwame, is spending a few hours outdoors each day now with her family. Their time outside in the public space, most likely between 1:45-4:30 pm, is weather-dependent and often takes place in short increments in order to accommodate the baby’s behind-the-scenes bottle-feedings.

Nadiri did not immediately pick up her baby after giving birth January 29, so our gorilla keepers initially provided round-the-clock care and bottle feedings of human infant formula while they helped Nadiri build confidence as a mother and bond with her baby. Now the two are back together 24/7 and they are a great team!

Nadiri’s bond with Zuna is strong.

Gorilla keeper Shawn Bell tells us that Nadiri’s bond with Zuna is strong. When the baby gets fussy Nadiri knows just what to do—comforting Zuna by patting her back and head. When it comes to feedings, Nadiri—who wasn’t able to keep nursing—and the gorilla keepers have developed a wonderful “tag-team” method for Zuna’s bottles. Every two to three hours—day and night—Nadiri brings Zuna over to an area in the behind-the-scenes bedrooms where our dedicated keepers can offer her a warm bottle of formula.

“We continue to bottle feed Zuna for her nourishment while mom Nadiri provides maternal care. She’s doing an excellent job. Once Zuna’s feedings are reduced, we’ll be able to extend her time outdoors,” says Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.

The baby gorilla is already teething, too, and has six teeth now! Whether it is to alleviate any teething discomfort or just because she is curious, Zuna loves to chew on things right now—including her own fingers and toes … and those of her devoted mother!

Zuna is becoming more active and steadily becoming stronger by the day. She is gazing at all the members of her family with interest—and they’re gazing at her too! 1-year-old Kitoko, who is Zuna’s half-brother, loves reaching out to the baby under the watchful eye of his mother, Uzumma. Nadiri’s 5-year-old daughter, Yola—who is also a half-sibling to the new baby—is curious too. But since Zuna is not quite old enough for play sessions yet, Yola seems perfectly happy to redirect her bursts of energy toward Kitoko—a more-than-willing playmate!

1-year-old Kitoko and his mom, Uzumma (seen in the back) often spend time near Nadiri and Zuna. Kitoko is very curious about his half-sister. 

Dad Kwame is always nearby and is attentive to all of his family members. He has very exciting play sessions with Uzumma, Yola, and Kitoko every day, but he also makes sure that Nadiri is feeling comfortable and safe with Zuna. When he walks by them, he often reaches out and touches his newborn daughter gently with his fingers or with his lips.

Nadiri holds baby her baby close and gives Zuna plenty of reassuring pats.

Female gorilla Akenji is there too and while the gorilla keepers say they’ve seen her watching Nadiri and Zuna, she has not really shown any interest in playing or getting too close. You can keep up with all our gorilla family updates and baby milestones by visiting

Help gorillas in their natural range
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. Funds generated from ECO-CELL support the Mondika Gorilla Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Become a ZooParent in honor of Zuna!
ZooParent adoptions—which can include a plush toy—are the perfect way to pay tribute to Zuna. ZooParent adoptions help Woodland Park Zoo provide exceptional care for all of its amazing animals and support wildlife conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

Nadiri grabs some browse and sunshine with little Zuna in her arms.


Anonymous said…
What terrific news. She is a real beauty, and she and Nadiri look wonderful together.
Grammie said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grammie said…
I'm so sorry she wasn't able to nurse Zuna. I guess by the time Zuna was back with Nadiri, her milk had dried up? Zuna is adorable and mom is doing a great job. They look so loving together.
Unknown said…
So appreciate the updates. Wonderful photographs, Zuna is absolutely precious, just like her mama was years ago when I took her photograph wearing a diaper after waiting in line for that moment.
Tara said…
So glad to see these photos and hear how well the troop is doing. Baby Zona is alert and beautiful.