June 6, 2018

Baby Gorilla is a Boy


(Pittsburgh) (June 2018) — The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is thrilled to reveal that our two-week-old Western lowland gorilla baby is a boy! Since keepers and veterinary staff keep watch over the new mom and baby without interfering, determining the sex of the baby was a bit tricky. “We had to wait for Moka, the mom, to position the baby in a way that enabled us to get a good look,” says Karen Vacco, Assistant Curator of Mammals. “She finally provided the perfect view for us to positively confirm the baby is a male.”

Twenty-two-year-old Moka gave birth while out on exhibit on Friday, May 25. The birth created a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors who happened to be near the gorilla exhibit at the time.

“Moka is being a great mom,” says Ms. Vacco. “She is cradling the baby and encouraging the baby to nurse. As the baby continues to grow and Moka gets more comfortable, the other gorillas will participate in the baby’s care, but for now, Moka is being very protective and keeping the rest of the gorilla family at arms’ length.”

Moka’s baby is an ambassador for Western lowland gorillas in the wild. Western lowland gorillas are currently listed as critically endangered, as their population is rapidly decreasing.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s animal naming program enables groups and individuals to have a direct impact on promoting the well-being of our Zoo residents while supporting our wildlife conservation-centered mission. Like many of our animals, the newborn baby gorilla is part of our animal naming program. Contact Melana Mears, Director of Development at mmears@pittsburghzoo.org