March 13, 2018 01:30 PM

Big gorillas start off itty-bitty, just check out the size comparison between this week-old western lowland gorilla newborn and its mom.

This sweet and tender footage was caught out in the wild by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Congo team during a visit to the rainforests of Congo’s Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, according to WCS.

Researchers are able to keep a close eye on the western lowland gorillas in this area thanks to years of conservation and monitoring. Through this work, the WCS knows that the baby in this clip is the offspring of male Kingo and female Mekome.

Along with providing precious moments like this, the WCS’s decades long effort to research and monitor the world’s wild gorillas has led to important information on how to protect and conserve these creatures.

Through this work, WCS knows that Mekome is an adult gorilla likely around 35 years old. She has given birth to four gorillas, all boys, since 2002. Sadly, all but one has died, which makes the arrival of this newborn extra special.

As a mom, Mekome is dedicated to her baby’s comfort. The WCS has witnessed the gorilla building special nests for her and her baby to sleep in, protecting her infant from the rain and other curious primates, and constantly holding the newborn close to her chest.

Researchers don’t know the sex of Mekome’s new child yet, but are happy to see the gorilla have another chance at motherhood.

“We’re very excited to be witness to the emergence of the next generation of Kingo’s growing clan,” said Mark Gately, Director of WCS’s Republic of Congo Program, in a statement. “A baby gorilla represents hope for the entire species.”

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