A two-week-old gorilla has died at a Canadian zoo after her mother's nursing routine was disrupted by other females and feedings by staff failed to maintain the baby's strength, zoo officials said on Friday.
The gorilla died late Thursday after females in the Calgary Zoo's gorilla troop took her away from her mother three times after she was born, creating stress for both the mother, named Zuri, and the newborn, whose energy was sapped, veterinarian Sandie Black said.
Supplemental feedings by zoo staff helped with nutrition but added to both gorillas' anxiety, Black told reporters.
"What we believe happened late in the afternoon yesterday as we were working toward separating the baby from Zuri for another supplemental feed is that baby ran out of the very small store of energy newborns have," she said.
"They don't have fat stores, they don't have adult, or mature, energy-handling mechanisms developed in the body yet and she essentially ran out of that gas."
Officials said the troop was aware of the loss of the baby, which was born August 5, and was showing changes in behavior.