Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Gorilla keeps mum over sex of baby

A gorilla is keeping mum over the sex of her baby by cradling the newborn close to her chest

A gorilla is keeping mum over the sex of her baby by cradling the newborn close to her chest.

Keepers at Dublin Zoo still do not know if the tiny western lowland gorilla is a boy or a girl because proud mum Lena is holding her infant so tight.

The baby weighs an estimated 1.81kg - just four pounds - and arrived on Sunday.

Ciaran McMahon, team leader responsible for the gorillas, said Lena has not yet let go of her newborn.

"She will continue to cradle the baby in her arms non stop for the next two to three months," he said.

"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."

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered, with the number of the primates living in the wild expected to fall by over 80% between 1980 and 2046.

Commercial hunting and a highly contagious virus called Ebola are the two main threats facing their survival.

Keepers said she has a very close relationship with the baby's father Harry, the dominant silverback of the zoo's group of gorillas who is keeping a protective eye over Lena and their newborn.

The yet-to-be-named baby gorilla joins its two brothers Alfie, who was born in 2003, and Evindi, who arrived in 2006, and female gorilla Mayani - who moved from Stuttgart Zoo in 2005.

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