On January 10, a baby western lowland gorilla was born at the Smithsonians National Zoo. Staff estimate the baby was born at approximately 1:45 pm to 26-year-old female Mandara and 16-year-old Baraka. The newborn represents the seventh successful gorilla birth for the Zoo since 1991. This is the sixth offspring for Mandara. The newborn joins siblings Kigali, Kwame and Kojo, as well as group member Haloko at the Great Ape House. All of the Zoos gorillas will remain on exhibit. Both mother and baby appear to be doing well. The babys sex has not yet been determined. The gorilla birth is significant for the National Zoo. Western lowland gorillas, which are native to tropical forests of West and Central Africa, are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species, primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation and poaching. They are also a focus of the Zoos participation in Species Survival Plan, in which North American zoos collaborate to encourage the development of a self-sustaining zoo gorilla population, helping to ensure the survival of this endangered species. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.
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