In a very rare scenario, a baby Western lowland gorilla has been born on February 12th in Bristol Zoo by way of Cesarean Section after the mother started showing signs of life-threatening pre-eclampsia. The baby gorilla still doesn’t have a name – zoo officials are working on that bit still.
Now 14 days old, the baby gorilla weighs approximately 2.2 pounds and appears to be healthy. Immediately after birth, veterinarians were close by to help the infant to breathe on its own. Zoo personnel are monitoring the status of the baby gorilla closely around the clock to ensure that it remains in good health.
The zoo notes that it’s the first time this particular zoo has given birth to a gorilla via C-section, and it’s a particularly rare event even for zoos across the world because of all the risks involved.
“The birth of any gorilla is a rare and exciting event; but the birth of a baby gorilla by caesarean section is even more unusual. It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly – Kera was becoming quite poorly and we needed to act fast in order to give the best possible treatment to mother and baby, and to avoid the possibility of losing the baby,” senior zoo curator John Partridge explained.
Professor David Cahill of Bristol University had been looking over the gorillas over the years, and was invited to the zoo before the operation to have a look at Kera.
“Having been involved with the care of these gorillas over the years, with some trepidation and excitement, we were invited to the Zoo to assess the well-being of Kera, because she was in late pregnancy and showed some signs of being unwell,” Cahill explained.
“Following our assessment, we considered that Kera might have a condition that humans get (pre-eclampsia) and that the only way to treat it was by delivery. We also thought that the baby in her uterus was showing signs of being very unwell and in need of delivery. My colleague from St Michael's hospital, Dr Aamna Ali, and I prepared for this extraordinary caesarean section, and delivered a little girl gorilla.”
A video showing part of the operation process, as well as the the baby gorilla alive and well, can be watched below. Warning: graphic content.
It appears that the baby gorilla is not showing any signs of health defects and should be able to live a long and eventful life under the zoo’s captivity, where it will be well taken care of by professionals.
Source: Bristol Zoo