Our infant girl will be one month old tomorrow. It has been an exciting month of mixed emotions as we grieve for Mia Moja, her mother, and are filled with genuine devotion for this new little gorilla. We thank you for your support on our social media channels and in letters while we care for this precious ambassador for her species.
As we mentioned last time, our infant girl is now at Gorilla Forest where she is able to see, hear and smell other gorillas. We are still waiting for her to tell us through observation when she is ready for the next steps. We are on the cusp of announcing some limited times when you can come and meet her at Gorilla Forest. She won’t be in with the other gorillas yet. Stay tuned here and on our facebook for more information. A naming announcement is on the way!
Staff continues to provide round-the-clock care. Keepers have begun the detailed process of introducing the infant to possible surrogates, Kweli and Paki — the two adult female gorillas that shared the social group with her mother (Mia Moja) and father (silverback Mshindi). Periodically, Kweli and Paki interact with the infant through mesh at the howdy panel in the infant’s bedroom. When these moments happen, keepers want to be sure that the two adult females are interacting with the infant and not just seeking the attention of keepers. To help determine if the true focus is the infant, keepers do not interact with Kweli or Paki during these visits.
Cincinnati Zoo Primate Curator Ron Evans, who is also a member of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan committee, will be visiting tomorrow. Evans and our Gorilla Care staff have been communicating since the infants birth. Evans will be instrumental in helping us evaluate Kweli and Paki for possible surrogacy.
Our infant girl’s weight looks good and she has more hair now. Her arm and hand strength have grown. At about one month old, gorilla mothers typically start playing with the infant and allowing her to sit up on the ground, so keepers are doing the same thing. They allow her to sit up between their legs on the floor.
In the coming days, she will be introduced to additional substrate (like flooring or bedding). As a you might allow your little one discover the feel of carpet, tile or other surface materials, we will introduce our infant gorilla girl to hay and wood wool — which she would experience in her enclosure with the adult gorillas.
Next week , we tell you what a typical overnight looks like. A little sneak peak: we can tell you it involves 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. bottle feeds just like you do with your little ones!