Baby gorilla born at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans

September 30, 2020
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A gorilla has been born at Audubon Zoo, officials said, marking the first gorilla birth at the zoo in 24 years. The baby is a critically endangered western lowland gorilla.

The baby was born early Friday morning to Tumani and Okpara, Audubon officials said. The baby does not have a name yet, and the staffers haven’t been able to get close enough to determine the baby’s gender.

Mama Tumani and her baby are doing well, officials said in an announcement video Tuesday morning.

In the video, Tumani snuggles with her baby, lies on the ground and quietly rubs the baby’s back.

It’s the first baby for 13-year-old Tumani, who came to Audubon from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 2017. The father is Okpara, a 27-year-old silverback gorilla who came to Audubon in 2017 from Franklin Park Zoo.

The zoo has been documenting the pregnancy on social media. Videos show Tumani getting sonograms, and animal care staff teaching her about new things, such as baby bottles.

The zoo also put together an online baby shower registry for Tumani, which included a turtle-shaped sandbox, jumbo blocks and fleece throw blankets.

The World of Primates section of the zoo will be closed while Tumani, her baby and the gorilla troop bond. The section will reopen when animal care staff “feel that mother and infant have properly bonded,” the zoo said.

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