Asha,a 13-year-old Western lowland gorilla at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, gave birth at 3:57 a.m. today. Little is known about her baby, though. Not wanting to disturb the first-time mom or the father, Rafiki, zoo staff did not immediately attempt to photograph or inspect the newborn up close.
The gorilla birth comes nearly a year after the birth of Umande, a boy born to Kwisha on Feb. 18, 2006. Zoo staff hand-reared Umande after Kwisha failed to care for him. In October, Umande was sent to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, where Lulu, a member of that zoo�s gorilla troop, is acting as a surrogate mom.
Asha is showing more maternal instincts and quickly picked up her baby. Keepers are confident they have seen the newborn nurse, primate supervisor Dina Bredahl said. Mom and baby were being observed through television cameras and monitors, the same system used to keep Asha under constant baby watch starting in late December.
Visitors will not be able to see the baby right away. The Primate World building will be closed for an unknown length of time while the gorillas and the zoo staff adjust to the new arrival.