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Thursday, November 24, 2011

A new gorilla in our midst: Five-day-old baby makes debut at Chicago zoo

By Daniel Miller

It's a girl! Beaming mother Bana proudly shows off her newborn baby to visitors at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo

This cute baby western lowland gorilla has become the star attraction after being introduced to visitors at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo yesterday.

The little female, who has not yet been named, was born last Thursday to doting 15-year old mother Bana, who gave birth for the first time, and 22-year-old silverback Kwan.

She is the 49th gorilla to be born at the zoo but the first new western lowland gorilla since 2005.

A spokesman said: 'We are thrilled to announce the birth of a western lowland gorilla.

'The little female is the first of this species to be born at the zoo since 2005. The yet-to-be named newborn seems healthy, as does Bana, a 16-year-old first-time dam.

'Bana has taken very well to motherhood. She is showing all of the signs of a doting new mom and is appropriately tender toward and watchful over her infant.'

Doting dad: Silverback Kwan stays close to mother and the as yet unnamed baby

Curious: The playful baby wriggles around in her mother's arms. She joins a troop of seven western lowland gorillas currently living in the park

She joins a troop of seven other western lowland gorillas currently living at the zoo.

Western lowland gorillas are one of the most endangered species in the world. In their natural African habitat they have been poached to near extinction for 'bush meat'.

Female gorillas normally have have around three babies in their lifetime. Newborns weigh between three to four pounds at birth, about half that of a newborn human. A fully grown male adult gorilla weighs about 400 pounds.

The babies learn to crawl at around two months and can walk before they are nine months old.

Time for a cuddle: With an enormous smile etched across her face, first time mother Bana, 15, rolls on her back clutching her little pride and joy



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