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There's a new baby gorilla in our midst...

It’s just three days old.
Jul 18th 2016, 2:18 PM 14,130 20

DublinZoo_Gorilla04 Source: Patrick Bolger

THIS TINY BABY gorilla was born at Dublin Zoo at the weekend – and its mum is keeping it so near to her that the zoo has no idea whether it’s a boy or a girl.

The baby western lowland gorilla was born to mum Lena in the early hours of Saturday morning, weighing approximately 1.8kgs.

This is the seventh baby for Lena, who was born in 1984. The baby’s father was silverback Harry who passed away in May.

DublinZoo_Gorilla06 Source: Patrick Bolger

Helen Clarke-Bennett, leader of the animal care team responsible for the gorillas said,

We are absolutely thrilled with the birth of the baby gorilla. The youngster is doing very well and is very bright and alert. Within minutes the baby was feeding from mum Lena which is a very good sign.
Lena is a great mother and so far she hasn’t let go of her newborn. She will continue to cradle the baby in her arms non-stop for the next two to three months. When she does eventually let the toddler out of her arms to explore, the youngster won’t go far because Lena will not allow the baby go more than an arm’s length away.

She added that it has been a sad time for the team after Harry’s death, but the newborn’s birth has put a smile on everyone’s face.

Big brother Kituba is taking a keen interest in the new arrival and the rest of the troop has reacted very well. The new arrival is a great success for Dublin Zoo as part of the European breeding programme for these critically endangered primates.

DublinZoo_Gorilla02 Source: Patrick Bolger

Western lowland gorillas are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) red list of threatened species.

Due to threats including commercial hunting and the Ebola virus, the numbers of these primates living in the wild is expected to fall by over 80% between 1980 and 2046.

Read: Here’s how the Legend of Tarzan was made without a single live animal>

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Aoife Barry

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