13 February 2024

Double joy for London Zoo’s gorilla troop with second birth

We're thrilled to welcome a second critically endangered western lowland gorilla baby, less than a month after the arrival of another.

The infant, an important addition to the endangered species breeding programme, was born at the conservation zoo to mum Effie at 7:44pm on Thursday 8 February, just three and half weeks after Mjukuu had her baby.  

How to help gorillas in the wild

Gorilla baby close-up, Effie's baby

Effie went into labour at around 7:04pm on Thursday evening and delivered her baby in the gym area of Gorilla Kingdom. Unlike fellow-mum Mjukuu, however, Effie’s birth was not as straightforward as the baby was born wrapped in its umbilical cord.

While the newborn appeared bright and healthy, our gorilla keepers maintained a constant vigil over the weekend in case the cord posed any risk to the new arrival. Thankfully, and much to the relief of the zoo’s gorilla keepers, the cord didn’t create any issues and baby continued to feed and wriggle around, and it has now completely detached.

Gorilla baby being held by mother at London Zoo

A half-sibling to the baby born in January, the new gorilla was also fathered by silverback Kiburi. Kiburi, 19, arrived at  the Zoo from Tenerife in November 2022 as part of the conservation breeding programme which ensures the preservation of a genetically diverse and healthy population of the gorilla subspecies.  

Our Primates Section Manager Kathryn Sanders said: “We’re over the moon to have a second gorilla infant born here at London Zoo in the space of a month – these babies are an important addition to the conservation breeding programme for this endangered species, and just as importantly, great additions to our troop.

A close up image of western lowland gorilla Kiburi in Gorilla Kingdom at London Zoo

“Effie and her baby kept us on our toes for the first 72-hours, as we wanted to make sure that the attached umbilical cord didn’t pose any risk to the newborn. It was a huge relief to see baby feeding, moving normally and to get a glimpse of its bright eyes peeking out from mum’s arms.

“The two youngsters will now grow up side-by-side, much like their older siblings Alika and Gernot did – they’ll love having a permanent playmate!”

Our zookeepers will not be able to confirm the sex of the infant yet and will wait for mum Effie to give them a clear opportunity to do so.

Effie holding her infant baby gorilla

Kathryn added: “It’ll take us some time to confirm the sex of our new arrival, and for now we will focus on letting mum and infant bond and the rest of the troop to get to know their new family member.”

The birth of a second western lowland gorilla at the Zoo helps to boost their numbers and shine a spotlight on the subspecies which is critically endangered. As a result of poaching and disease their wild numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 25 years.  

We're a part of international conservation charity ZSL, and we're increasing its conservation efforts to protect western lowland gorilla habitats in the West Congo Basin. Putting local communities at the heart of our conservation work, through ZSL we will empower them to lead efforts, support the creation of alternative income streams for those who are otherwise reliant on the area’s natural resources, and support new land-use planning to reduce the impact of deforestation – in order to protect the home of gorillas and other threatened species in the area.