KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Zoo Knoxville is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Western lowland gorilla baby, the third born in Knoxville since 2015.
The baby was born between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2016, to 38-year-old mother Kowali and is estimated to weigh between three and four pounds. Both mother and baby appear to be doing well and Kowali is an attentive mother. Zoo staff will continue to monitor both closely and will only intervene if necessary.
Kowali and her baby remain part of the family group that includes female Hope and her 15-month-old baby girl Obi, female Machi and her 15-month-old baby boy Ubuntu, and silverback father Bantu. Obi and Ubuntu are extremely curious about their new half-sibling and Kowali is patiently allowing them to see the baby.
The Gorilla Valley Courtyard will be closed to the public to give Kowali time to rest, recuperate and bond with her baby. It will re-open as soon as Kowali seems receptive to having visitors.
Kowali came to Zoo Knoxville in 2013 from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. She is an experienced mother, having given birth to five previous offspring. In late 2015, the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Gorilla Species Survival Plan issued a breeding recommendation for Bantu and Kowali.