A USA zoo has welcomed the birth of a male western lowland gorilla this week, a breed listed as critically endangered due to disease and poaching.
The parents, 15 year old mother Calaya and 26-year-old father Baraka, bred in summer 2017 following a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan.
She gave birth on her own and can be seen kissing and nursing Moke in the moments immediately following birth.
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.
Visitors may be sad to hear that the Great Ape House remains closed indefinitely to allow Calaya to nurse her infant. "We will provide support to her if need be, but I have every confidence that Calaya will be a great mom to Moke".
Calaya is a first time mom, and caretakers said she is doing an awesome job, cradling the baby and even breastfeeding.
Calaya's maternal instinct was clear to see with her newborn Moke (Picture: Smithsonian)'This infant's arrival triggers many emotions-joy, excitement, relief-and pride that all of our perseverance in preparing Calaya for motherhood has paid off. There are a lot of different personalities in this family troop, but they all work well together'.
Zoo curators say these gorillas are critically endangered.
Native to Central African Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the lowland gorilla species adds one more to its dwindling number, and hopefully through conservation and other efforts, these creatures will thrive in the coming decades.