This baby western lowland gorilla has only been in the world for a few weeks, but she already has a lot of feelings.
The adorable infant was born on Sept. 28 to mother Kumbuka at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida. Now that the baby primate is a little older and bigger (she recently weighed in at more than 5 lbs.), she is starting to make appearances on the zoo’s Facebook page.
Followers of the zoo are fans, and have especially fallen for the little gorilla’s expressive face, which appears to be constantly rotating between emotions.
Overall the unnamed infant is happy and healthy. But shortly after the gorilla was born she needed to be separated from her mother, who showed great parental instincts but was observed holding the baby gorilla incorrectly.
The Jacksonville Zoo confirmed in 2017 that Kumbuka is hearing impaired. The facility believes this impairment may have prevented the mother from hearing when her infant was in distress, which led to her incorrectly holding her baby.
For now, the baby gorilla is being cared for by zoo specialists and will stay with them for the next four months. While the infant is being hand-reared by the gorilla care team, Kumbuka will be with the zoo’s gorilla troop so she can learn maternal behaviors from other gorilla moms. The mother gorilla is also keeping an eye on her infant, who is receiving around-the-clock care right next door, and learning to how to handle her infant by watching the keepers.
“Kumbuka can see and smell her baby and shows particular interest when the keepers demonstrate walking ‘gorilla-style’ while holding the little one. Maintaining the close connection between mother and daughter is essential for a successful reintroduction,” the zoo wrote in a statement about the gorilla’s birth.
The infant will be reintroduced to her mother when the baby is stronger and a little more independent.
“Welcoming the newest member of our zoo family is always exciting, and this little gorilla’s arrival is both special and challenging,” said Dan Maloney, JZG Deputy Director of Animal Care and Conservation. “I’m so proud of the animal care and health teams who are working so hard on behalf of Kumbuka and her baby.”
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