Gorilla cradles, kisses her newborn in heartwarming video

Gorilla cradles, kisses her newborn in heartwarming video

The Washington D.C. zoo says the newborn, named Moke, is the first male western lowland gorilla born at the facility in nine years. Zoo officials said his name means "little one" or "junior" in Lingala, a Bantu language spoken in certain areas of the Congo. She was on birth control pills when she first arrived at the zoo three years ago, according to the Washington Post.

The adorable baby gorilla was bred last summer by Calaya and 26-year-old Baraka.

She gave birth on her own and can be seen kissing and nursing Moke in the moments immediately following birth.

Moke is listed as critically endangered due to disease and poaching.

Meredith Bastian, curator of primates, said in a statement to the National Zoo's website: "The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole".

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Animal care staff are keeping a close eye on how Calaya nurses the infant, who has been photographed clinging closely to his mother since the birth.

Since Calaya's pregnancy was confirmed using a standard human pregnancy test in fall 2017, staff have been getting ready for Moke's arrival. Over 500 western lowland gorillas are in zoos around the world. The Great Ape House is closed to give Calaya quiet time to bond with her baby.

Calaya is a first time mom, and caretakers said she is doing an awesome job, cradling the baby and even breastfeeding.

Scientists estimate the number of wild western lowland gorillas has decreased by 60 per cent in the past 25 years. In general, gorilla babies weigh about four pounds when they are born. I am excited to see how he will fit into the group dynamic.

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