Western lowland gorilla born at Smithsonian Zoo, mom showers him with kisses

Western lowland gorilla born at Smithsonian Zoo, mom showers him with kisses

Western lowland gorilla born at Smithsonian Zoo, mom showers him with kisses

A Western lowland gorilla gave birth to a male at 6:25 p.m. Sunday at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. She was on birth control pills when she first arrived at the zoo three years ago, according to the Washington Post.

Keepers trained Calaya to take voluntary ultrasound so they could monitor Moke's fetal growth.

Meredith Bastian, curator of primates at the zoo, said the birth holds special significance to both their zoo family and to the critically endangered species as a whole.

The adorable baby gorilla was bred last summer by 15-year-old mom Calaya and 26-year-old father Baraka.

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The Great Ape House is now closed to give Calaya and Moke privacy to bond without interference from zoo staff or visitors. However, Calaya and Moke will be on exhibit if the youngster continues to thrive. Luckily, the pregnancy process for western lowland gorillas is not so different from their human cousins.

The mother can be seen cleaning, kissing and cradling Moke in the incredible video.

Her mother, Calaya, is a familiar name to Washington.

'Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya'.

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Visitors may be sad to hear that the Great Ape House remains closed indefinitely to allow Calaya to nurse her infant.

'This infant's arrival triggers many emotions-joy, excitement, relief-and pride that all of our perseverance in preparing Calaya for motherhood has paid off.

Native to Africa, western lowland gorillas live in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo. I am excited to see how he will fit into the group dynamic.

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