First western lowland gorilla born at National Zoo in 9 years

Gorilla Calaya cradles her newborn

Gorilla Calaya cradles her newborn

The western lowland gorilla gave birth at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in the United States capital.

Moke, which means "junior" or "little one" in the Lingala language, was born at 6.25pm.

A United States zoo has welcomed the birth of a male western lowland gorilla this week, a breed listed as critically endangered due to disease and poaching.

Calaya is a 15-year-old gorilla while Moke's father is a 26-year-old called Baraka.

The footage shows Calaya cradling her newborn shortly after giving birth - while also cleaning placenta from his head - in what appears to be a number of lovable kisses.

Moke is listed as critically endangered due to disease and poaching.

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The Great Ape House is closed to provide Calaya a quiet space to bond with her infant.

The Great Ape House is now closed to give Calaya and Moke privacy to bond without interference from zoo staff or visitors. However, Calaya and Moke will be on exhibit if the youngster continues to thrive. Over 500 western lowland gorillas are in zoos around the world.

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

Mandara, who has herself raised six children, was being prepared as a foster mother in case Calaya was unable or unwilling to look after Moke, as first-time gorilla mothers sometimes are.

"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.

She then gently kisses Moke several times while admiring him and holding the baby close before laying him down to rest inside the enclosure. I am excited to see how he will fit into the group dynamic.

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