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Seattle's newborn gorilla 'flourishing' despite mother's neglect

By Ben Hooper
Seattle's newborn gorilla 'flourishing' despite mother's neglect
The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle said the female western lowland gorilla born Nov. 20 is "flourishing" despite a lack of attention from its mother. Photo courtesy of the Woodland Park Zoo

SEATTLE, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle said a newborn baby gorilla is "flourishing," despite a lack of interest from her mother.

The zoo said the female western lowland gorilla was born Friday to first-time mom Nadiri and keepers stepped in when the mother "did not show appropriate maternal behaviors" after the birth.

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Zookeepers said Nadiri was partially hand-raised and lacks experience with motherhood, so zookeepers were prepared to step in and care for the infant if necessary.

The baby is being bottle-fed infant formula while officials attempt to help the mother bond with her baby.

"She keeps her baby within line of sight and we hear content grunting, but she has not shown any interest beyond this and has not made a move to pick up her baby. While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we remain optimistic that her maternal behaviors will kick in," mammal curator Martin Ramirez said. "The best thing for a baby gorilla, or any animal, is to have its mom take care of it."

"The good news is that the baby is flourishing. We're very pleased with the baby's first 72 hours, a critical period for newborn gorillas. She's feeding sufficiently and maintaining her body temperature," Ramirez said. "Our focus over the next several days is to ensure this baby remains healthy and to keep moving forward with attempts to unite Nadiri with her baby. We just need to be patient."

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