Philadelphia Zoo Gorilla Gives Birth To Healthy Baby After Difficult Labor

Gorilla gives birth with help from doctors who treat people

Baby gorilla is the newest — and most tummy-tickling — addition to Philadelphia Zoo

Due to concerns about her and the baby's health, the zoo brought in a team from the veterinary and human medical field.

This photo provided by the Philadelphia Zoo shows a newly born western lowland gorilla resting on its mother Kira in Philadelphia.

Using tools and procedures similar to those applied to standard human births, the doctors were able to successfully deliver Kira's first-born on June 2 after about an hour and a half, the zoo announced on Tuesday. Kira went into labor last Friday but began struggling. "She was a great older sister to younger siblings and has been very attentive while our other female gorilla, Honi, has raised baby Armani".

A special team of doctors who normally treat people and veterinarians were drafted in from Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania and its veterinary medicine school.

A similar team was in place for a gorilla birth at the zoo past year, but the emergency response wasn't needed. They used forceps and snipped the mother to safely deliver an adorable baby gorilla after 1 1/2 hours.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists western lowland gorillas as critically endangered in the wild.

"Though Kira is a first-time mom, we're not surprised she's acting like an expert already", said Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo's chief operating officer.

The delivery followed a hard labor for Kira, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, said Andy Baker, the zoo's chief operating officer. Officials say it was the first assisted vaginal delivery for a gorilla that the zoo is aware of since 2000.

The zoo said Kira has been cradling him nonstop and nursing him while dad Motuba stays close to protect his family, a common role for gorilla fathers.

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