Franklin Park Zoo welcomes baby gorilla

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Courtesy of Franklin Park Zoo

FRANKLIN, Mass. (WPRI) — The Franklin Park Zoo welcomed a baby gorilla to its family last week, the Zoo announced Monday.

On Oct. 14, Zoo officials said a team of veterinarians and physicians delivered the male gorilla via Cesarean section.

The mother Kiki, a 39-year-old western lowland gorilla, was experiencing bleeding that was at times significant, according to the Zoo.

With her due date coming up, the veterinarians said they became concerned she may have placenta previa, where the placenta blocks the path for delivery of the baby. This was later confirmed by ultrasound.

“For the health of mom and baby, it was imperative to quickly diagnose Kiki’s condition and perform a C-section before she went into labor on her own,” Zoo New England Vice President of Animal Health and Conservation Dr. Eric Baitchman said.

The veterinary team said the surgery went smoothly, delivering a healthy 6-pound, 3-ounce gorilla at 6:35 p.m. This is a rather big gorilla infant, typically they weigh three to five pounds, according to the Zoo. They added this is the first male gorilla to be born at the zoo.

“This was truly a team effort, and we are relieved and happy that the surgery went smoothly and that mom and baby are both safe and healthy,” Baitchman said.

After the delivery, the Zoo said Kiki recovered while the baby was cared for by zoo staff, close enough for Kiki to still see and hear her baby.

The Zoo said the pair was successfully reunited the next day, adding they are currently bonding and are not yet on exhibit.

Check out Franklin Park Zoo’s website for an update on when they will make their exhibit debut.

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