April 26, 2016 05:29 PM

Surprise, Shinda is a mommy!

The female lowland gorilla living at the Prague Zoo has been keeping a secret. She was pregnant and delivered her first baby on April 23, much to the surprise of her keepers who didn’t think she could carry a baby because of past miscarriages.

“Miracles happen!” a Facebook post from the zoo reads. “Our female gorilla Shinda gave birth to her first baby. She had several abortions and nobody believed that she has still chance to become a mother. Her pregnancy remained hidden thanks to her appetite so the birth surprised keepers on Saturday morning. Now newborn gorilla is ok and Shinda is very happy mother. And we all are happy with her!”

According to the zoo’s website, when the gorilla arrived at the zoo in 2001, she had a hormonal contraception implant under her skin, in order to prevent her from getting pregnant by her father with whom she had been living in Australia.

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“Her inability to have babies was attributed to this very implant whose effects took longer than expected,” the website says. “Shinda had become pregnant in the past but she had always miscarried and due to irregular cycles she had to be treated by means of hormonal contraception. Currently no one believed that the 24-year-old female could have an offspring.”

Although the birth on Sunday was unexpected, it happened without incident and the other gorilla group members were there for moral support (the females stayed close by, the zoo said, and showed their interest and the young watched the whole event unfold).

“As soon as she had given birth, she started caring after the baby exemplarily – she cleaned it and herself and even though it was her firstborn, she behaved like an experienced mother,” said Vít Lukáš, the zoo’s curator.

Afterward, Shinda’s hard work was rewarded with a meal – the usual fruits and vegetables – and she ate every last bite, the zoo said.

Video of mother and baby cuddling in the Gorilla pavilion, which is currently open for public viewing, can be seen above.  

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