After days of waiting and watching, Keepers are able to confirm Taronga’s new gorilla baby is a male.
Experienced mother Frala had been keeping the baby tightly clutched to her chest since the youngster was born late evening on 12 May. Frala knows this is the warmest part of her body and the best place to keep the young infant during its first days.
It was only when Frala was grooming the baby on Sunday afternoon that keepers spotted the proof that the newborn is a male.
Primate Supervisor, Lou Grossfeldt, said: “We’re really excited that it’s a strong, healthy boy. He’s got strong neck muscles, he’s very active and alert and he’s looking around and watching the other gorillas. He’s suckling a lot from Frala so these are all very positive signs to see.”
“It’s interesting to see the other mother in the group, Mbeli, and her seven month old son Mjukuu coming over and showing interest in Frala and her baby. It’s great that these two half brothers will get to grow up together.”
“This form of socialisation is a really important part of any gorilla group,” said Lou.
Keepers will now begin to shortlist names for the young male. Keeping with tradition the name will be of Swahili origin and start with an “F” after Frala’s.
With just 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas remaining in the wild, any additions to the family are important to world breeding programs for gorillas, helping insure against rapidly declining numbers in Africa.
The Zoo supports gorillas in the wild through the “They’re Calling You” program which recycles mobiles phones to reduce demand for illegally mined minerals and to raises funds for wildlife patrols and by choosing FSC-certified wood products which are sustainably sourced.
Visitors can pick up a reply paid phone recycling satchel at the Gorilla Forest exhibit when they come to visit the gorilla family or download a reply paid label to send off phones from home here: https://taronga.org.au/how-you-can-help/take-positive-action/mobile-phone-recycling-program-%E2%80%93-we-need-your-phones