Smithsonian’s National Zoo Celebrates Birth of Gorilla

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
April 29, 2018US News
Smithsonian’s National Zoo Celebrates Birth of Gorilla
(Smithsonian's National Zoo via Storyful)

A male gorilla was born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo on April 16.

Smithsonian officials said that the birth of the male western lowland gorilla is the first in nine years.

He’s been named Moke, which means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language.

Moke’s parents are Calaya, 15, and Baraka, 26.

Animal care staffers said that Calaya seems quite attached to Moke, nursing him as he clings closely to his mother.

“Animal care staff are leaving Calaya to bond with and care for her baby without interference. The Great Ape House is closed to provide Calaya a quiet space to bond with her infant,” the Smithsonian stated.

“The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates.

“The primate team’s goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother. Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya,” she said.

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