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Gorilla at Calgary Zoo expecting a new arrival
Published Tuesday, January 5, 2016 9:52AM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 5, 2016 7:42PM MST
Officials at the Calgary Zoo are excited to announce that the zoo’s 14-year-old female gorilla, Kioja, is pregnant and expecting her first offspring in March 2016.
The father of the baby is the troop’s silverback, 37-year-old Kakinga, who has fathered nine other offspring since 1993.
All of the babies were born at the Calgary Zoo and seven of them are still alive.
“We are excited for this new addition to our gorilla troop as a baby is the best enrichment for the group,” says Dr. Malu Celli, curator, Calgary Zoo in a release. “In the wild, gorillas are critically endangered and by adding another member to our troop we are continuing to ensure there is genetic diversity within captive populations and safeguard the long-term future of this species.”
As this is Kioja’s first pregnancy, zoo staff is working closely with her to help her prepare for the birth which includes specialized training, conducting regular ultrasounds, and monitoring by the veterinarian staff.
Western lowland gorillas are currently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Populations in the wild have dropped more than 80 percent in just three generations and these populations face high levels of hunting, disease, and habitat loss.
Estimates indicate that there are fewer than 100,000 left in the wild.
The birth will be the zoo’s first since 2008, when Yewande joined the troop.