18 January 2024
Gorilla baby at London Zoo
We've welcomed a critically endangered western lowland gorilla infant, after a speedy 17-minute labour.
The tiny infant was born at our conservation zoo to mum Mjukuu at 9:34am on Wednesday 17 January 2024, following an approximately eight-and-a-half-month long pregnancy.
London Zoo's baby gorilla
Our gorilla keepers were carrying out their usual morning duties when they first spotted that Mjukuu was in labour. Giving the experienced mum some space, they monitored her via CCTV cameras installed in the dens.
Moments after giving birth in the privacy of their back dens, second-time mum Mjukuu could be seen gently cradling her newborn, before allowing the troop’s curious youngsters Alika and Gernot to examine the intriguing new arrival.
Celebrating precious addition to breeding programme
Our Primates Section Manager Kathryn Sanders said: “We started our day as normal – we gave the gorillas their breakfast and began our cleaning routines. When we returned to their back dens, we could see Mjukuu was starting to stretch and squat – a sign that she was in labour.
“After a very quick labour – just 17 minutes – Mjukuu was spotted on camera tenderly holding her newborn and demonstrating her wonderful mothering instincts – cleaning her infant and checking it over.”
The birth of a western lowland gorilla at the Zoo is a real cause for celebration – the subspecies is critically endangered and as a result of poaching and disease their wild numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 25 years.
The infant was fathered by Kiburi, who arrived at London Zoo from Tenerife in November 2022 as part of the international conservation breeding programme for western lowland gorillas – the programme ensures the preservation of a genetically diverse and healthy population of the gorilla subspecies.
Kathryn added: “To say we’re happy about this new arrival would be a huge understatement – we’ve all been walking around grinning from ear to ear.
“We’ll be giving mum and baby lots of time and space to get to know each other, and for the rest of the troop to get used to their new addition – they’re as excited as we are and can’t stop staring at the baby.”
Zookeepers are yet to confirm the sex of the infant, who has remained closely snuggled in its adoring mum’s arms. The infant will remain in close contact with mum for around the first six months of its life.