Leicester

Western lowland gorilla born at Twycross Zoo

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'

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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