Albuquerque zoo sees first gorilla birth in almost 20 years

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Albuquerque BioPark Zoo is celebrating the first birth of a gorilla in nearly 20 years.

Zoo officials say a baby western lowland gorilla was born Wednesday to mother Samantha and father Kojo.

Bob Lee, the zoo’s associate director. says the zoo does not yet know the new baby’s gender because the mother is keeping it very close. As a result, the zoo has temporarily shuttered the ape walk area so mother and baby can bond with some privacy.

The zoo’s total number of western lowland gorillas is now up to eight. The last time a gorilla was born here was in 2004.

The parents have only been together a few years. Fifteen-year-old Samantha moved from Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, in April 2019. Twenty-year-old Kojo was born at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., and moved here in April 2021.

They were paired as part of a species survival plan.

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