Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium will be showing off one of its new additions Friday. A Western Lowland Gorilla born last month will be making her formal debut.
She was born on May 5th to first-time mother Bambio. a 15-year-old. The baby’s father, 24-year-old Tambo, is also father to Kgosi, born in January 2017. This is the ninth gorilla birth at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
Although Bambio has always been attentive while holding the baby, the newborn was unable to successfully nurse from her. After 48 hours with no sign of nursing, animal care staff intervened. The baby is being bottle-fed every three hours. To simulate Bambio, animal care staff wears a hairy vest during feedings. This is so the baby can learn how to hold on and nurse from her mother in the future. By caring for the baby as close to the family group as possible, animal care staff hopes she will one day be able to join Bambio and the others.
Zoo visitors will see the baby gorilla with animal care staff in a nursery area within Hubbard Gorilla Valley during regular Zoo hours.
Gorillas live in family groups led by a mature male called a silverback, named for the silver hairs that develop on their back as they age. These groups also consist of sub-adult males, adult females and their offspring. Adult males that have not yet developed a silver stripe are called blackbacks. The color change normally starts in their mid-teens.
Western lowland gorillas live in the tropical forests of western Africa. A gorilla’s diet consists of large amounts of greens as well as some vegetables and fruits. They are currently listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The largest threat to their population is the logging industry, which destroys the forest habitat.