By Meena Thiruvengadam
Nov 17, 2021
WANT TO SEE A WESTERN lowland gorilla without having to venture to Africa? Just head to Ohio. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo just welcomed its first-ever baby gorilla and boy is he cute.
Born at the zoo on Oct. 26, the adorable addition, a male, weighed in at a whopping 1.4 kg at birth and is expected to nurse for about three years, according to the zoo. Mom Nneka and dad Mokolo are doing well, though another gorilla mom in the pack, Freddy, has stepped in to help, shuffling the newborn to zookeepers for bottle feedings.
The baby primate, however, does not have a name yet. The 74-hectare Ohio zoo plans to ask the public to help them select the perfect name for the baby western lowland gorilla. It’s not yet clear exactly how they’ll do that, but stay tuned for details.
Guests can visit the newborn and other gorillas who call the zoo home every day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
And if you can’t make it in person, don’t fret too much. The zoo will be releasing what’s sure to be an adorable collection of gorilla baby videos soon.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which traces its history to 1882, is part of a broader effort to promote the long-term survival of gorillas around the world. Through the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, it also works with scientists to protect gorilla populations in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The zoo houses one of the largest collections of primates in North America.
As recently as 2007, The World Conservation Union reclassified Western gorillas — the only kind you’ll encounter in a zoo — from endangered to critically endangered. It’s unclear exactly how many remain around the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund but according to the Cleveland Zoo, fewer than 4,500 remain in Africa, making every birth a boon.
All photos courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.