The National Zoo in Washington DC Welcomes A Newborn Baby Gorilla
Apes! They're great, aren't they? If you agree, then a) you are correct, and b) take a look at this heartwarming video, which proves if nothing else that our primate cousins (in this case, gorillas) are also super-cute.
Footage and photos of Calaya the gorilla have been shared after she gave birth to her son Moke (pronounced 'Mo-key', which is conveniently similar to 'monkey', although as any Terry Pratchett fan will tell you, apes =/= monkeys) at the Smithsonian National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute in Washington DC.
The zoo took to social media to announce the birth, posting: "We are thrilled to share that western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a male at 6.25pm yesterday.
"His name, Moke [pronounced mo-KEY], means 'junior' or 'little one' in the Lingala language. Primate keepers are happy to report that Calaya has been caring for her infant and are optimistic he will thrive."
Since Moke's birth, the zoo has shared heart-warming footage of mother and baby bonding at the D.C. zoo, writing:
Gorillas Calaya & Moke are bonding in the Great Ape House. Mom is providing excellent care, nursing & cradling Moke closely. Baraka, Mandara & Kibibi are very interested in Moke! #GorillaStory pic.twitter.com/uhSPbnvJS5- National Zoo (@NationalZoo) April 16, 2018
The footage shows Calaya cradling her newborn shortly after giving birth - while also cleaning placenta from his head - in what appears to be a number of lovable kisses.
Calaya is a 15-year-old gorilla while Moke's father is a 26-year-old called Baraka.
Western lowlands live in central African countries including the Republic of the Congo, DRC, Cameroon and Gabon. Like many species, they are threatened with extinction from deforestation, farming, the expansion of human settlements and poaching.
Their numbers are estimated to have declined by over 60 percent during the last 20-25 years and despite vast conservation efforts they remain listed as 'critically endangered' by the World Wildlife organisation. Over 500 western lowland gorillas are in zoos around the world.
Although it is illegal to poach gorillas, they continue to be under threat due to a local demand for bush meat - and as a result of the capture of baby gorillas for pets.
Featured Image Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo