January 05, 2017
One gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo is doing his best to get his species off the endangered list.
Zoo officials announced Thursday that 17-year-old Kira is expecting a baby western lowland gorilla in the summer. This is her first pregnancy, which was confirmed using an over-the-counter home pregnancy test.
Doctors say Kira is in good health and hope she will deliver her baby without assistance. However, the zoo has assembled a team of doctors from area hospitals to oversee the pregnancy and intervene if necessary.
The baby's father, 32-year-old Motuba, is now expecting his second offspring since arriving at the Philly Zoo in February 2014 from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Ohama, Nebraska. Last year, Motuba and 22-year-old Honi welcomed their daughter, Amani, in August. Motuba also has another daughter, Bambio, who was born in 2003.
“Kira loves babies,” said Kristen Farley-Rambo, the zoo's primary gorilla keeper. “She’s shown a lot of interest in baby Amani. And she was a great older sister to her younger siblings. We think she’s well-prepared to be a first-time mother.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed western lowland gorillas on the critically endangered list in the wild.
There are six western lowland gorillas at the zoo: Motuba, Honi, Kira, 17-year-old Louis, 14-year-old Kuchimba and Amani.
Gorillas are usually pregnant for 8.5 months, and the zoo expects Kira to give birth in June 2017. Newborn gorillas weigh approximately 4 pounds at birth.