Bristol

Gorilla born in rare C-section 'teething and giggling'

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Media captionThe zoo has not yet named the baby

A female gorilla born after a rare emergency caesarean section at Bristol Zoo six weeks ago is "teething and has even giggled", the zoo says.

The Western lowland gorilla was delivered after her mother, Kera, developed the potentially dangerous condition pre-eclampsia.

The baby is being hand-reared by zookeepers as Kera is still recovering but "not quite out of the woods".

Keepers are asking the public to choose the baby's name from a choice of three.

Image copyright Bristol Zoo
Image caption Zookeepers said the baby gorilla was getting "noticeably stronger week by week"

Curator of mammals Lynsey Bugg said the gorilla's birth weight had almost doubled to 2.2kgs (4lbs 8oz) and she was getting "noticeably stronger week by week".

She said: "Her arm muscles are becoming more defined, her grip is stronger and she is increasingly alert and attentive.

"She might be small but she is already showing an assertive side to her personality and grunts and coughs at us if we don't give her her milk quickly enough."

Image copyright Bristol Zoo
Image caption The gorilla was born on 12 February weighing 2lbs 8oz
Image copyright Bristol Zoo
Image caption She is being hand-reared by keepers as her mother is currently too unwell to care for her

Ms Bugg said gorillas developed "in similar ways to human babies" but reached milestones much earlier. Teething started at four weeks, she tried to roll over at five weeks old and at six weeks was becoming "increasingly vocal".

Talking about the mother, Ms Bugg said: "Kera has been very poorly with anaemia and a suspected chest infection, on top of recovering from the pre-eclampsia.

"There have been a few times when we have not been sure whether she would pull through, it's been a very delicate recovery for her and she is still not 100% better."

She said Kera had shown little interest in her daughter due to being ill and they were "exploring the possibility" of another female gorilla fostering the baby after they showed "good protective behaviour".

Bristol Zoo wants to name the baby, who is not yet on show, and is inviting the public to choose from a choice of three names.

Image copyright Bristol Zoo
Image caption The baby spends all day in the gorilla house so she becomes used to the sounds, smells and sights of other gorillas

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