Gorilla, newborn share tender moment at the National Zoo

Gorilla, newborn share tender moment at the National Zoo

The zoo took to social media to announce the birth, posting: "We are thrilled to share that western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a male at 6.25pm yesterday".

Moke's parents, Calaya and Baraka, were bred following a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan.

On April 15, the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., was blessed with a new addition to its family: a newborn western lowland gorilla named Moke, which means "junior" or "little one" in Lingala.

Calaya was taught to urinate on command to allow hormone analysis and to manipulate her breasts to assess lactation and allow nutrient evaluations.

Natural instinct and a mother's love: Western lowland gorilla showers smooches on newborn at Smithsonian's National
Heartwarming moment Calaya the gorilla cradles her newborn baby Moke and gently kisses him at the National Zoo

Since Calaya's pregnancy was confirmed using a standard human pregnancy test in fall 2017, staff have been getting ready for Moke's arrival. Because the team trained Calaya to participate voluntarily in ultrasounds, they have been able to monitor fetal growth and development throughout the pregnancy. Mandara successfully fostered six infants, and she was ready to step in if Calaya had difficulty with her son, but it looks like Calaya and Moke will get along just fine as mother and son. "Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya", Bastian said.

Animal keeper Melba Brown said zoo officials are certain Calaya will be an excellent caregiver to her new son.

Mum Calaya welcomes Moke into the worldSmithsonian's National ZooCalaya initially cradles her new-born sonSmithsonian's National ZooJust one kiss isn't enough for adoring mum CalayaSmithsonian's National ZooAnd another... However, Calaya and Moke will be on exhibit if the youngster continues to thrive.

'I am excited to see how will will fit into the group dynamic. There are a lot of different personalities in this family troop, but they all work well together'.

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