The New Orleans Zoo is celebrating the good news that one of their “critically endangered” gorillas is expecting her first baby.
13-year-old Tumani, who came to Audubon Zoo from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 2017, is a critically endangered western lowland gorilla.
The pregnancy is the result of successful breeding between Tumani and Okpara, a 26-year-old silverback gorilla, who came to Audubon from Franklin Park Zoo in 2017.
“Tumani’s pregnancy is a huge deal and we want to share that news with the public. It seems to be going well,” said Dr. Robert McLean, Audubon Zoo’s chief veterinarian.
The zoo wants the process to be as natural as possible with the mother caring for the baby full time and minimal human intervention.
“We don’t want the baby by itself. We want it with the mother at all times,” McLean explained. “If the baby’s on the ground, we want to be able to say, ‘Hey, pick it up’.”
The due date is anywhere between mid-July and Aug. 20.
Because of poaching and disease, the western lowland gorilla’s numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years. The species is considered to be critically endangered by the IUCN.