(Reuters) — A baby gorilla who came down with pneumonia after being born in a rare Caesarean section at the San Diego Zoo has improved enough to be released from the hospital and taken on a brief outing with its mother.
The baby gorilla, a girl, was delivered by C-section on March 13 after its 18-year-old mother, Imani, went into labor at the zoo but was unable to complete the delivery, according to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. She and was treated for pneumonia with antibiotics and other medication, and also suffered a collapsed lung, which doctors were able to reinflate last week.
On Tuesday (March 25), zookeepers felt confident enough in the baby’s condition that they allowed Imani to take the little tyke out for a stroll, and hang out with the resident gorilla troop.
“Today was the first day that the troop was together with Imani and her baby girl, and we let them out on exhibit together and everything seems to be going really well, mom’s doing a great job, says Jamie Pawlowski, keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The baby, an endangered western lowland gorilla, weighed 4.6 pounds (2 kg) on delivery and is a full-term infant.
Imani is instinctively protective of the baby girl, cradling her as she forages for foods and eating greens. She also takes a little time every couple hours to nurse the baby as well.
“She kept the baby close to her chest, just like she should, and the group came out, the kids were definitely the most interested,” says Pawlowski. “Mom has been nursing the baby a lot, which is normal, so that’s typical behavior, baby nurses around every 2 hours, so you’ve seen a lot of that already today, she holds her close, and finds kind of a quiet space to nurse the kid.”
The as yet unnamed baby girl will have some friends when she is ready to play, including a five-year-old gorilla named Frank and a 2-year-old named Monroe.
This is the 17th gorilla born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park is home to eight gorillas, including the new baby.