Western lowland gorilla born at Twycross Zoo

The gender of the lowland gorilla born at Twycross Zoo is still not known as the mother is guarding it carefully.

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A Leicestershire zoo has announced the birth of a western lowland gorilla.

The baby, which has not yet been named, was born to parents Ozala and Oumbi on 3 January at Twycross Zoo.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) there are fewer than 100,000 of the critically endangered animals left in the wild.

Sharon Redrobe, from the zoo, said the infant represented a vital contribution to the conservation of the species.

'Very inquisitive'

Know your gorillas...

  • Western gorillas are smaller and lighter than their eastern cousins, making them more agile and giving them a greater ability to gather fruit
  • The widespread lowland gorilla is one of two subspecies - the other is the rarer cross river gorilla. Both are sociable and live in groups
  • Adult males are known as silverbacks because of the streak of silvery-white hair which extends down their backs

Source: BBC Nature

The wildlife park said Ozala, who was born at Twycross in 1994, is a confident, attentive mother and is taking great care of her baby.

Charlotte Macdonald, curator of living collections, said: "Oumbie [the baby's father] is gentle but protective and is showing a lot of interest in the infant.

"On the day of the baby's birth he was very inquisitive, sitting beside Ozala and putting his face right up to the baby to smell it."

The infant, whose sex is not yet known, will stay close to its mother for the next couple of years but can be seen by visitors to the park.

Western lowland gorillas are dangerously close to extinction due to hunting, habitat loss and the Ebola virus, according to IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species.

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