The baby gorilla girl will stick close to mom for the next few months

By Kelli Bender
February 11, 2020 04:49 PM

Like any new mom, the L.A. Zoo is excited to show off photos of their new baby.

The California zoo’s gorilla parents, 32-year-old dad Kelly and first-time mom N’djia, welcomed the little primate on Jan. 18. The newborn is the gorilla couple’s first baby together and the first gorilla baby born at the L.A. Zoo in over 20 years.

On Monday, the zoo announced that keepers recently confirmed that the new arrival is a girl. It took keepers several weeks to confirm the baby’s sex because the little girl is very attached to mom, often clinging to N’djia around the clock, the zoo shared in a release that  also included photos of the pair cuddling together.

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“The last few weeks have been so exciting watching first-time mom N’djia with her new baby,” Beth Schaefer, director of animal programs at the L.A. Zoo, said in the release. “Having gorillas in our zoo is so important so we can connect Angelinos to the amazing biodiversity that exists on this planet and to help ensure that these beings will never go extinct. Like with humans, each mom and baby are different, so some are adventurous and test boundaries earlier, while others stay close for a longer amount of time. We hope guests are enjoying this journey as much as we are.”

Jamie-Pham/L.A. Zoo

The zoo add in their release that guests can expect to see the baby gorilla keeping close to mom for the next few months as she nurses, grows and learns more about her surroundings. Dad Kelly will keep an eye on the pair, and the rest of the troop will keep a comfortable distance from N’djia and her newborn as everyone acclimates to the new arrival.

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“Every birth is a celebration, both in zoos and in the wild,” said Candace Sclimenti, curator of mammals at the L.A. Zoo, in a statement. “We are thrilled about this baby because she will provide additional attention to this critically endangered species.”

Western lowland gorillas, like this new baby, are considered critically endangered in the wild, according to the zoo. Illegal hunting, susceptibility to disease and habitat destruction have all taken their toll on wild gorilla populations.