National Zoo Welcomes Baby Gorilla

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Smithsonian's National Zoo said hello to its latest bundle of joy Saturday - when 26-year-old western lowland gorilla Mandara gave birth to a baby at approximately 1:45 p.m. The zoo reports that both mother and baby appear to be doing well. The baby's sex is yet to be determined.

"We began monitoring the baby as soon as it was discovered and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks," said Don Moore, associate director for animal care. "Mandara is a very experienced and competent mother, and we're confident that she will properly care for and bond with her baby."

The newborn is the seventh successful gorilla birth for the Zoo since 1991 and the sixth offspring for Mandara. Visitors can see the newborn interact with siblings Kigali, Kwame and Kojo, as well as group member Haloko at the Great Ape House.

The gorilla birth is significant for the National Zoo as western lowland gorillas, which are native to tropical forests of West and Central Africa, are listed as critically endangered. They are also a focus of the Zoo's participation in Species Survival Plan Program, a collaboration among North American to encourage the development of a self-sustaining zoo gorilla population

Check out the video below and photos of the mother and child at the Zoo's Flickr account. A full version of the story also appeared in today's Washington Post.

Any ideas what the National Zoo should name the new baby?

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