WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian's National Zoo is preparing for the highly anticipated birth of a critically endangered western lowland gorilla.
The parents to be, that are housed at the D.C.-based zoo, are 20-year-old female Calaya and 30-year-old male silverback Baraka, who bred in September 2022. This will be their second offspring, with their first being born in April 2018 and named Moke.
The primate team says they are "cautiously optimistic that she will deliver a healthy baby between late May and early July."
“As we prepare to welcome a new western lowland gorilla to our troop, we hope this baby’s impending arrival inspires the public to care about these charismatic, intelligent and fascinating animals,” said Becky Malinsky, curator of primates. “Every new birth contributes to the conservation of this species, as they are critically endangered in the wild.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the western lowland gorilla as critically endangered due to habitat loss, disease and poaching, according to the National Zoo. Scientists estimate that in the past 20 to 25 years, the number of wild western lowland gorillas has decreased by 60%.
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