First western lowland gorilla born at National Zoo in 9 years

Gorilla Calaya cradles her newborn baby

Gorilla Calaya cradles her newborn baby

Moke, which means "little one" in the Lingala language, is the first male western lowland gorilla born at that zoo in almost a decade, according to a Smithsonian Magazine report. His name, Moke, means "junior" or "little one" in the Lingala language.

It's the zoo first such birth in nine years. Zoo staff members say he's bonding with his mother, Calaya, and video shows her cleaning him after he was born.

Uplifting footage has emerged of a western lowland gorilla cradling her newborn baby and kissing its head.

The new arrival is a joyous occasion for a species whose wild population has been in decline in recent years due to disease and poaching, the zoo explained.

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Last summer, after a standard human pregnancy test confirmed Calaya's pregnancy, the primate team at the zoo worked diligently to prepare her as well as the zoo for the infant's birth. In general, gorilla babies weigh about four pounds when they are born.

Animal keeper Melba Brown said zoo officials are certain Calaya will be an excellent caregiver to her new son.

'Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya'.

Westen lowland gorillas are native to Africa and live in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo.

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She then gently kisses Moke several times while admiring him and holding the baby close before laying him down to rest inside the enclosure.

'I am excited to see how he will fit into the group dynamic.

Calaya is a 15-year-old gorilla while Moke's father is a 26-year-old called Baraka. Lowland gorillas are classified as a critically endangered species.

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