Gorilla gives birth with help from doctors who treat people

Because Kira was administered anesthesia during labor, zoo staff provided initial neonatal care to her newborn son - who has yet to be named.

Usually, gorilla births are quick and the mother does not appear distressed. Concerned about the health of both Kira and her baby, the zoo's veterinary staff summoned a medical team that was on stand-by.

Using tools and procedures similar to those applied to standard human births, the doctors were able to successfully deliver Kira's first-born on June 2 after about an hour and a half, the zoo announced on Tuesday. After 1 1/2 hours, the 5-pound baby boy was born. The baby, which can be seen with the troop in the PECO Primate Reserve, is the first for 17-year-old Kira.


Kira, a western lowland gorilla, was reunited with her baby on Saturday morning and has been continuously cradling and nursing him ever since. "She was a great older sister to younger siblings and has been very attentive while our other female gorilla, Honi, has raised baby Armani". They included an ob-gyn, surgeons and anesthesiologists from hospitals affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University. While gorilla cesarean sections aren't out of the ordinary, this was the first assisted vaginal delivery for a gorilla since 2000, according to the Philadelphia Zoo.

Keepers at Philadelphia Zoo in the United States noticed that 17-year-old Kira had gone into labour on Thursday last week but grew concerned when the typically quick birth had not happened by Friday. Silverback Motuba, 32, is a three-time dad, and he fathered baby Armani who was born at the zoo in August.

Western lowland gorillas, which inhabit African forests, are listed as critically endangered species.


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