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A healthy male gorilla was born at the North Carolina Zoo today at about 8 a.m. to 12-year-old "Jamani."
Zookeepers witnessed the labor that they described as relatively quick and uneventful. The infant appears strong and active, and the mother is providing good maternal care.
Jamani came to the N.C. Zoo from the San Diego Zoo in January 2010. Another Gorilla at the zoo, 16-year-old "Olympia" is also pregnant and due early November.
The birth is only the second gorillas born at the N.C. Zoo and the first since the zoo's first baby gorilla, Kwanza, was born in March 1989. He was transferred in1998 to Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo as part of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
Both today's birth and the expected November birth were recommended by the SSP.
The gorilla birth is a major accomplishment, not only for the N.C. Zoo, but also for the AZA's gorilla conservation effort. Currently there are only about 350 gorillas in 52 AZA-accredited zoos with just four successful births out of eight pregnancies recorded during 2011 and early 2012.
The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.