Zuri the gorilla is once again a mom, and this time, nobody is going to mess with her baby. The Calgary Zoo's newest baby gorilla was born this morning at 3 a.m.
The birth is good news for Zuri, a Western Lowland gorilla who suffered the loss of a different baby in August 2006. Her infant gorilla lived only 12 days, because Zuri's half-sister took the baby from her but had no milk to nurse it.
Back then, Zuri was the lowest ranking gorilla in the troop and lacked the confidence to grab her child back. Now, it's a different story.
"The troop dynamics have changed drastically since the last birth two years ago and Zuri is now the most dominant female in the group," said zoo keeper Les Stegenga.
Gorilla keepers, veterinary staff and father Kakinga, a silverback gorilla, are keeping a watchful eye on Zuri and her newborn. The exhibit building is closed for a day or two to maintain a quiet atmosphere for the gorillas, zoo staff say.
"We could not be more pleased with the way things are going in this initial phase," said zoo keeper Garth Irvine.
The zoo's cycle of life and death has seen staff dealing with both joy and sorrow this week. The loss of 40 cownose rays - a devastation that has wiped out all but three rays from the entire aquatic exhibit since Sunday - has cast a gloomy pall over the zoo.