A newborn Western lowland gorilla arrived at 8:57 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, inside the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Great EscApe habitat to first-time mother Mikella, 14, and father Togo, 29. This marked the 26th gorilla born at the Oklahoma City Zoo since 1974. Zoo veterinary staff and gorilla caretakers determined both mother and baby were healthy, but because it was critical to allow bonding time, the Zoo’s animal care team was not able to determine the offspring’s gender. They have since observed that the baby is a girl. Her name will be revealed in the coming days.
OKC Zoo’s gorilla troop is now home to three generations of this family. Mikella was born at the Zoo in 2003 to 32-year-old mom, Emily and is the older sister of 2-year-old, Rubi. With Western lowland gorillas, troop dynamics and family structures are crucially important factors for learning how to rear their offspring. Growing up in a troop consisting of aunts, cousins and a younger sibling, Mikella has learned how to be attentive toward young gorillas–a vital skill for new moms.
To celebrate, Pinkitzel Candy & Cupcakes is partnering with the OKC Zoo to support conservation. For every Neapolitan cupcake sold through the end of January, the Oklahoma-based confectionery is donating 50 cents to the OKC Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program. Zoo guests are encouraged to become everyday conservationists by simply rounding up their purchases to the next dollar amount when visiting the Zoo.
In addition to the arrival of a baby gorilla for the holidays, Ndjole, another Western lowland gorilla, is expected to give birth in summer 2018 and Asian elephant, Asha, will deliver her baby around November 2018. The Zoo also welcomed Francesca, a 26-year-old pygmy hippopotamus, earlier this month.