A team of veterinarians and physicians worked together to deliver a baby gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo using techniques usually reserved for human moms.
The delivery followed a difficult labor for Kira, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, said Andy Baker, the zoo’s chief operating officer.
“Usually gorilla deliveries are quick and appear to be pretty problem free,” Baker said. “But by Friday morning, Kira had not delivered. She was looking tired, not feeling well, and it didn’t appear the labor was progressing.”
A team of veterinarians and obstetricians was called in to consult. They included an ob-gyn, surgeons and anesthesiologists from hospitals affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University.
“We were able to take her up to our veterinary hospital,” Baker said. “Rather than having to go to C-section, we delivered her normally.”
It was an unusual birth, Baker said.
“In the past couple of years, there have been some C-sections with gorillas, but we are aware of only one other case where a female was having trouble delivering the baby herself,” he said. “But rather than having to do a C-section, the baby was delivered normally at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle in 2000.”
The yet-to-be-named male gorilla weighed 5 pounds. He and his mother are doing well under careful observation.
Since Kira was reunited with her baby Saturday morning, she has continuously cradled and nursed him.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.