Welcome to the jungle gym, little one.
The Philadelphia Zoo introduced animal lovers to the facility’s new baby western lowland gorilla on Aug. 31. Small, precious and good at posing for photos, the newcomer is already a favorite.
The newborn is the offspring of Honi, the zoo’s 21-year-old female gorilla, and 31-year-old male Motuba. This is the second birth for Honi and the first child for proud papa Motuba. The entire family is now on display at the zoo’s PECO Primate Reserve.
“We are very excited to welcome Honi’s new baby,” Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer said in a statement. “The Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability. This birth is an opportunity to engage our visitors in caring about the future of gorillas in the wild.”
To ensure that the baby’s future stays bright, the infant will be closely monitored by the staff. Keepers have a watchful eye on Honi too, since baby gorillas are essentially helpless early in life and rely on their moms to help them along. Both Honi and her baby are currently in good health.
“Given Honi’s experience, we’re not surprised she’s been a great mother so far, but we’re very pleased that both she and the baby appear healthy,” said Baker. “The baby will be among the first generation of animals to grow up and explore through Zoo360, a first-in-the-world animal travel and exploration system.”
Zoo360 is the Phildelphia Zoo’s series of overhead trails, which includes the Gorilla Treeway. Animals are allowed to roam around and above their exhibits and zoo grounds via the Zoo360 installation.
The zoo is waiting to determine the sex of its newest primate before naming the baby. Once the gorilla’s sex is determined, animal lovers will be able to go online and cast a vote for their favorite name out of the ones supplied by the zoo’s visitors and social media followers.