Baby gorilla cuddled by mother at London Zoo remains nameless

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A critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla mother holds her baby, one of two babies born at the zoo in Jan. and Feb. this year, at London Zoo in London, Monday, March 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON – The newest endangered baby gorilla at the London Zoo is more than six weeks old but doesn’t yet have a name. Zookeepers aren’t even sure if it’s a male or female because they haven’t been able to get close enough to examine it.

A photo taken Monday by The Associated Press shows why: The gorilla's mother, Effie, has the baby in her loving cuddle.

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“It’s actually quite tricky to sex a young gorilla without a close-up examination,” said Rebecca Blanchard, a zoo spokesperson. “The infant is still held closely by its mum most of the time, and here at London Zoo, we leave the baby in mum’s capable hands.”

The tiny ape that arrived Feb. 8 is one of two baby western lowland gorillas born at the zoo this winter. Another mother, Mjukuu, gave birth to a little one almost a month earlier.

Both babies were sired by Kiburi, a 19-year-old silverback brought to the zoo from Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands as part of a conservation breeding program to help preserve the critically endangered gorilla subspecies.

The birth of Effie's baby wasn't simple. The gorilla arrived wrapped in its umbilical cord, posing a possible threat to its life.

Zookeepers watched over it for the first three days, making sure it continued to feed and move around until the cord finally detached.

London Zoo, located within Regent's Park, is opening a new habitat to the public on Friday called The Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians to replace its old Reptile House.

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