Zoo celebrates birth of endangered baby gorilla

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Rollie, a western lowland gorilla, gave birth on Sunday.

Rollie the gorilla breastfeeds her newborn infant

A Chicago zoo is celebrating after one of its gorillas gave birth on Mother’s Day.

Rollie, a western lowland gorilla at Lincoln Park Zoo, gave birth to a male on May 12 – which was Mother’s Day in the States.

“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival,” said curator of primates Jill Moyse. “Rollie is an experienced mother who is displaying appropriate maternal skills and care.”

According to the zoo, the as yet unnamed baby is “staying tucked in close and clinging to Rollie as a newborn should”.

The birth is the second for Rollie, who also delivered a female – Nayembi – back in 2012.

Rollie and her newborn infant gorilla
The infant is Rollie’s second (Christopher Bijalba/Lincoln Park Zoo)

The infant swells the zoo’s gorilla troop to eight, including Rollie, Nayembi and silverback Kwan, as well two more adult females and two more juvenile females.


“It’s really amazing to see this family group grow and adapt,” said Moyse. “Lincoln Park Zoo’s last gorilla birth was in 2015 when the troop welcomed newborn Bella.

Rollie feeds her newborn infant gorilla
The infant is ‘staying tucked in close and clinging to Rollie’ (Christopher Bijalba/Lincoln Park Zoo)

“It’s an exciting time to visit Regenstein Centre for African Apes where you can see different life stages of the gorillas from newborn infant to full-grown silverback.”

Western lowland gorillas, which are native to central Africa, are critically endangered in the wild because of poaching and loss of habitat.

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