Meet the baby gorilla born via rare caesarean at Bristol Zoo

Western lowland gorilla was delivered early because her mother had pre-eclampsia

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unnamed baby gorilla born by emergency caesarean who is being cared for by keepers as her mother is still too ill to look after her.

This is the baby gorilla born by emergency caesarean at Bristol Zoo who is being cared for by keepers as her mother is still too ill to look after her.

The six-week-old Western lowland gorilla has almost doubled her birth weight, now weighing 4.9lb (2.2kg), has started teething and has even giggled for the first time.

unnamed baby gorilla born by emergency caesarean who is being cared for by keepers as her mother is still too ill to look after her.

The infant was born after an emergency caesarean procedure at Bristol Zoo – a rare occurrence in gorillas and only carried out a handful of times in the world.

She is now being hand-reared around the clock by a small team of experienced gorilla keepers, and is not currently on show to the public.

See also: Watch: The gorilla who loves watching cat videos

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The baby is having to be hand-reared as her mother, Kera, was diagnosed with life-threatening pre-eclampsia prior to the birth and has been too unwell to care for the baby since the caesarean.

Lynsey Bugg, curator of mammals, said: "Kera has been very poorly with anaemia and a suspected chest infection, on top of recovering from the pre-eclampsia.

unnamed baby gorilla born by emergency caesarean who is being cared for by keepers as her mother is still too ill to look after her.

"There have been a few times when we have not been sure whether she would pull through, it's been a very delicate recovery for her and she is still not 100% better."

As part of her intensive treatment, keepers have been administering oxygen to Kera, as well giving her a blood transfusion from one of the other gorillas – one of only a few times this has ever been carried out on a gorilla. Staff at the zoo believe this has been integral in Kera's recovery.

Bugg added: "From the very start we have introduced the baby to Kera and the other gorillas in the group. Kera has shown little interest, probably because she has been so poorly, so we had no choice but to continue hand-rearing the baby.

"However, the other female gorillas have been very interested in the baby and have displayed good, protective behaviours towards her, which is very encouraging.

"In light of this, we are now exploring the possibility of one of our other female gorillas fostering the infant.

"We have also been discussing other options with our colleagues who manage the gorilla European breeding programme."

Keepers are pleased with the progress the baby gorilla is making.

"She is doing really well; she is getting noticeably stronger week by week, which is great," Bugg said.

"She is meeting all the targets for her age, continues to feed well and has milk every two hours both night and day, which is pretty exhausting, it's very much like taking care of a human newborn baby."

unnamed baby gorilla born by emergency caesarean who is being cared for by keepers as her mother is still too ill to look after her.

Keepers at the Zoo are now looking to name the baby, and are inviting the public to choose their favourite name from a choice of three. The names under consideration are:

1. Maiombe – a geographical region in Africa covering gorillas' native countries.

2. Afia – meaning "Friday born child" in Ghanaian.

3. Pianga – Pianga from Pianga-Makeshi, a place in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To vote visit the survey page or visit Bristol Zoo's Facebook page.

Baby Gorilla Doing Well After 'Extraordinary Caesarean Section'