January 10, 2014, Toronto Canada: Toronto Zoo announced today that Ngozi, one of the female Western lowland gorillas, gave birth to a baby overnight Thursday, January 9, 2014.
Mom and baby are both healthy and are doing well, and Wildlife Care Staff will continue to monitor their development. Charles, the Zoo's silverback male, is the newborn's father. At this time Zoo staff cannot determine the sex of the baby, as it remains close to Mom.
This is Ngozi's second birth. Her first son Nassir, was born at the Toronto Zoo on September 2, 2009. Ngozi, came to the Toronto Zoo from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on March 4, 2008, to breed with Charles.This newborn is the 10th of this critically endangered species to be sired by Charles and born at the Toronto Zoo. This newest addition to the Toronto Zoo Family is genetically significant for the North American Western lowland gorilla population.
"There has been a drastic decline in wild populations of gorillas worldwide due to hunting, disease and habitat loss. Over the past three generations, experts estimate a more than 80% decline in their population, and we need to act now to prevent the risk of their extinction," said Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals.
"The Toronto Zoo is a long time partner in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) which focuses on in situ and ex situ conservation to prevent this extinction from happening. The birth of this offspring is one step further in our efforts to save this critically endangered species and showcases the important role zoos play in global conservation."
The Toronto Zoo currently has seven gorillas: three adults, Charles, Josephine and Ngozi, and four youngsters, Shalia (female, born 2002), Sadiki (male, born 2005), Nassir (male, born 2009) and the new baby. The Toronto Zoo plays an important role in educating the visiting public about the need to save gorillas in the wild, through such programs as PhoneApes cell phone recycling. The Toronto Zoo has allocated thousands of dollars to gorilla conservation through the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund.
A critically endangered species, Western lowland gorillas are found in the rainforests of Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. An adult male can weight 200 kg, with adult females weighing around 100 kg. Females mature at approximately eight years, but typically don't breed until 10 years of age. The average gestation period is 265 days with a single young being born.
Toronto Zoo is accredited by CAZA (Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums). Look for this logo whenever you visit a Canadian zoo as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things.