On Father’s Day, Miami Metro Zoo keepers were greeted with a pleasant surprise when they arrived to work: a newborn western lowland gorilla! The new baby, whose sex is still to be determined, was born to mother Kumbuka, 14 years old, and father JJ, 32 years old.
Baby gorilla with mother Kumbuka at the Miami Metro Zoo. Photo Credit: Armando Raul Rodriguez
San Francisco zookeepers are currently training Bawang, a proven mother, to care for the baby gorilla born in December of last year. The baby’s mother, Monifa, had abandoned the little one shortly after his birth and took no interest in tending to him.
According to Corrine MacDonald, curator of primates at the San Francisco Zoo, “Teaching Bawang to be a surrogate mom is no easy task and it’s going to take a lot of time and patience. She is an incredibly intelligent gorilla and all of us are committed to bringing these two together and ensuring this infant becomes a beloved member of the troop.”
Monifa, Bawang, and the infant are western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), which are critically endangered in the wild.