Update 15 February:
The gorilla cub is already a few days old. The little one drinks well and hangs close to mother Aya. Ayba, Aya’s eldest daughter, pays them regular visits. She is very interested in her little brother or sister, as you can see in this video of caregiver Victor. The rest of the group is also a bit closer together. Father Bokito does not interfere with the upbringing, but he does ensure peace and harmony in the group.
Birth announcement 11 February
A Western lowland gorilla was born unexpectedly in Blijdorp Zoo. The keepers saw the baby early this morning. The mother is Aya (26 years) and the father is Bokito (25 years). Mother and child are doing well. For Aya this is the fourth young and for Bokito the tenth. The sex is still unknown and hard to see. Aya holds the cub close to her body.
The baby is very welcome but was not planned. The number of births is regulated by the European breeding programme (EEP). This means that females are on the pill for a longer period to prevent too many young from being born. Aya also gets contraception but has now become pregnant earlier than planned. The gestation period for a gorilla is about nine months, just like for humans. The group consists of eight animals, including the newcomer. It is a very experienced and social family group that has successfully raised young. The family is very interested in the little one but Aya has not allowed them to get too close yet.
If all goes well, visitors will be able to visit the baby during the day or tomorrow. There is no guarantee that the baby will be seen at all times. Mother Aya has the possibility to retreat behind the scenes to take care of her baby in peace and quiet.
The Western lowland gorilla is unfortunately seriously threatened in Africa by habitat destruction, poaching and wars. A lot of habitat is lost because of the mining of the raw material coltan. This is an ore that is needed to make the batteries of our mobile phones work.
Therefore Blijdorp supports the conservation project Mbeli Baï Study. The Mbeli Baï Study has been researching the population development of the western lowland gorilla, African elephant, marsh antelope and forest buffalo for 25 years. It is the longest-running study to systematically examine the behaviour and ecology of the western lowland gorilla.
Maternity gift: recycle your old mobile phone
In the Gorilla Hall there is a collection point for old mobile phones. By handing them in here, you help us recycle them so that less coltan needs to be mined. Moreover, with the proceeds of the mobile phones we can support the research of Mbeli Baï study. In 2021, € 5,876 was raised in this way for the nature conservation project.