Zoo keepers speak of joy after birth of baby gorilla

Zoo staff have spoken of their joy at the birth of a baby gorilla – coming a year after its mother lost her first born.

The tiny western lowland gorilla arrived in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the Gorilla House at Bristol Zoo.

Nine-year-old Kala, who came to Bristol Zoo from Germany in 2018, gave birth naturally with the baby’s father, Jock, nearby.

Western lowland gorilla Kala with her new born baby at Bristol Zoo (Ben Birchall/PA).
Western lowland gorilla Kala with her new born baby at Bristol Zoo (Ben Birchall/PA).

Keepers arrived to find the little gorilla nestling in its mother’s arms, and both are doing well.

In September last year, Kala lost her first baby after undergoing an emergency caesarean.

Lynsey Bugg, the zoo’s curator of mammals, said: “We knew we were having a baby gorilla due and we’ve been on baby watch for a little while.

“On Tuesday Kala looked nice and comfortable and not causing us any concerns or worries.

“I came in yesterday morning to find a brand new baby in the house. It was lovely.

“Last year she did have a pregnancy and birth but it didn’t go as planned and unfortunately the baby didn’t survive.

Kala lost her first baby last year after undergoing an emergency caesarean and gave birth naturally this time (Ben Birchall/PA). 
Kala lost her first baby last year after undergoing an emergency caesarean and gave birth naturally this time (Ben Birchall/PA).

“We were a bit on tenterhooks this time round and it is so lovely that she was able to give birth naturally and baby and mum are really well.

“She’s a very attentive mother and very nurturing and you see lots of suckling from the baby, and the baby looks really strong and a good size.”

Ms Bugg said it would take some time before the sex of the baby gorilla is known.

“They are not all that easy to sex and we want to have a few looks before we are certain,” she added.

The new gorilla joins a troop of six gorillas at the zoo, which are part of a breeding programme to help safeguard the future of western lowland gorillas.