As our closest genetic relatives, it’s no wonder that humans are fascinated by gorillas. Last week, we were captivated by the news that a baby girl gorilla was born at the San Diego Zoo. The infant gorilla, which does not yet have a name, was delivered by a rare animal Caesarean section at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. At the time, she appeared well and healthy, but updates indicate that the baby gorilla has contracted pneumonia and is receiving round-the-clock care.
Gorillas are the largest members of the primate family and 98 percent of their DNA is identical to that of humans. Despite this similarity, human activities have driven the gorilla almost to the point of extinction. There are now less than 3,000 Eastern Lowland gorillas, less than 720 Mountain gorillas, around 100,000 Western Lowland gorillas, and around 300 Cross River gorillas left in the wild.
That’s why the birth of the new baby girl gorilla in California gave Zoo officials such joy. Although in captivity, her birth brought the Zoo’s population of gorillas to eight. Now it appears the newest addition is fighting for her life.
“[T]he C-section, rare for a gorilla, was performed because she was in distress after going into labor,” reported CBS. Shortly after 18 year-old mother Imani gave birth to the 4.6 pound female infant, the baby gorilla was put in intensive care to receive oxygen and supplemental fluids at a veterinary hospital. Just days ago she underwent surgery for a collapsed lung. The Zoo says it’s unclear whether she contracted pneumonia before or after birth.
Via CBS News
Top image is a screen capture from YouTube/San Diego Zoo
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