Smithsonian National Zoo celebrates birth of baby critically endangered gorilla

See video of baby gorilla bonding with mother

SAN ANTONIO – There’s a new member of the family at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

A western lowland baby gorilla was born at 6:25 p.m. Sunday and named Moke, pronounced Mo-KEY, meaning junior in the Lingala language, according to the zoo’s website.

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The baby was born to Calaya, a 15-year--old gorilla, and Baraka, who is 26.

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“The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates.

Zookeepers are keeping their distance to avoid interfering while Calaya bonds to her baby.

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“We will provide support to her if need be, but I have every confidence that Calaya will be a great mom to Moke,” animal keeper Melba Brown said.

See video of the mother and baby gorilla below:

Western Lowland Gorilla Calaya Gives Birth to Male

❤️🦍 Welcome, little one! We are thrilled to share that western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a male at 6:25 p.m. yesterday. His name, Moke [pronounced mo-KEY], means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language. Primate keepers are happy to report that Calaya has been caring for her infant and are optimistic he will thrive. #GorillaStory #WeSaveSpecies Learn more:

Posted by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute on Monday, April 16, 2018