Friday, November 05, 2010

Franklin Park Zoo Gorilla Kiki Gives Birth

A Western lowland gorilla was born Wednesday morning in the Tropical Forest Building at the Franklin Park Zoo, officials said yesterday.

The baby, born at about 8:35 a.m., is the third child of Kiki and her mate, Kitome, nicknamed Kit. The couple already had two daughters, Kira, 11 and Kimani, 5, according to the statement.

“The baby looks good,’’ said Jeannine Jackle, assistant curator of the building. “It was reaching its arms out, moving its legs, and it gave out a good cry. Kiki appeared very calm and relaxed and was doing everything a gorilla mother should.’’

The baby was discovered by Shannon Finn, a senior zookeeper, after she had fed breakfast to Kiki, Kira, and Kimani. She left for about 15 minutes, and when she came back, she found the newborn baby, according to Jackle, who said she was glad Kiki’s daughters witnessed the birth.

The gender of the new baby is unknown, because Kiki is holding it close, not allowing zookeepers to get near it, Jackle said in an interview. Sometimes it can take weeks to discover a gorilla baby’s gender, she said.

The baby, who will be named in an upcoming contest, was the first born in the indoor habitat for the gorillas, built in 2007. “[The forest] is warm, and open all year; it’s like being outside indoors,’’ Jackle said. “We want to encourage people to come and watch this baby grow up.’’


Full story here.
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