Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute welcomes baby gorilla

Primate staff at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute are celebrating the firs birth of a male western lowland gorilla in nine years

Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute welcomes baby gorilla

Moke, which means "little one" in the Lingala language, is the first male western lowland gorilla born at that zoo in almost a decade, according to a Smithsonian Magazine report.

Moke is the first baby gorilla born at the zoo in nine years. He was born at 6:25 p.m. April 15 and is named Moke [Mo-KEY], which means "junior" or "little one" in the Lingala language.

His mother, Calaya, has been caring for the baby, according to primate keepers, and they are optimistic he will thrive.

The zoo says Moke's parents, mother Calaya and father Baraka, bred last summer following a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP). Mandara successfully fostered six infants, and she was ready to step in if Calaya had difficulty with her son, but it looks like Calaya and Moke will get along just fine as mother and son.

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The mother can be seen cleaning, kissing and cradling Moke in the incredible video. The Great Ape House was closed Monday to allow mom and infant to bond.

'Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya'.

Her mother, Calaya, is a familiar name to Washington.

"This infant's arrival triggers many emotions - joy, excitement, relief - and pride that all of our perseverance in preparing Calaya for motherhood has paid off", Ms Brown said.

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The Great Ape House is now closed to give Calaya and Moke privacy to bond without interference from zoo staff or visitors.

'I am excited to see how he will fit into the group dynamic.

The endangered lowland gorilla species lost about 60 percent of its population over the past two and a half decades for several reasons including poaching and disease.

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