Zoo has 1st newborn gorilla in 10 years

Oct. 14, 2010 at 4:57 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A New York zoo has a newborn gorilla -- whose sex is as yet undetermined -- after several years of discouraging gorilla breeding, zoo officials said.

Sidney, the 13-year-old first-time mother at the Buffalo Zoo, gave birth on Friday, but as of Wednesday was protectively holding her baby so zoo officials could not weigh it or determine its gender, the Buffalo News reported.

Sidney and her baby, which is the first gorilla born at the zoo in 10 years, were on public view together for the first time Wednesday, zoo officials said.

The baby is also the first for the father, 23-year-old Koga, the News reported.

"We're very excited. The baby is very healthy and nursing strongly. Sidney has been a great mother, zoo director Donna Fernandes said of the zoo's fifth gorilla.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan discouraged gorilla breeding after eight gorillas born at the zoo in the 1980s survived.

The zoo, however, was given the green light for renewed breeding earlier this year and Sidney was taken off birth control, Fernandes said.

"The baby photos have gone all over. It's got a cute little face, and gorilla noses are always so adorable," said Fernandes.

Another baby, a giraffe, is expected at the zoo in the next few days, the newspaper said.

"We didn't want the gorilla and the giraffe both to come at the same time, so the poor vet wouldn't have to be running between the two of them," Fernandes said.

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