Gorilla born in Disney’s Animal Kingdom (PHOTO)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park in Florida has a new attraction–a newborn western lowland gorilla, the third gorilla born at the theme park.

The gorilla, whose gender is still unknown, is doing well and has already become an integral member of the gorilla family group which includes first-time mother, Kashata, father Gino, and two other females, Benga and Hope, Walt Disney World said in a news release accompanying this photo.

mother_and_baby_gorilla_photo.jpg

Photo of Kashata and her new baby courtesy of Walt Disney World

“Kashata has been a model mother from the moment the baby was born,” said Matt Hohne, animal operations director for Disney’s Animal Programs. “She immediately knew how to properly hold the baby and her nursing skills have been exemplary.”

Since Kashata has been holding the baby close to her body, animal keepers have yet to determine the baby’s gender, Disney said. “Most gorilla mothers keep their offspring close for several months while the baby adjusts to the environment. In addition, gorilla babies typically nurse for approximately 12 months and may be weaned between the ages of four and five,” Disney added.

The birth of the new baby, which is yet to be named, is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also participates in AZA Species Survival Plans for several other animals, including elephants, cotton-top tamarins and okapi.

Aside from breeding activities, Disney’s Animal Programs is active in gorilla conservation in other areas. These include providing staff expertise for the creation of the first rescue and rehabilitation center in eastern Africa for orphaned gorillas to ultimately reintroduce them back into the wild, an effort funded by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

More photos and stories of animals in our regular feature Zoo News >>

Changing Planet

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn