Baby Gorilla Born On Valentine's Day At OKC Zoo

Friday, February 15th 2013, 4:48 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma City Zoo is proud to present a baby gorilla who was born on Valentine's Day. The mother of the baby is Kelele, and the father was Bom Bom, a popular gorilla who died last year. 

Bom Bom died in July 2012 from cardiac arrest. After a nine-month pregnancy, the mother named "Kelele," a 19-year-old Western Iowland gorilla, gave birth to her first baby.

7/26/2012 Related Story: Popular Gorilla Dies At OKC Zoo

The sex and name of the baby gorilla have not been determined.

"This is a significant birth for the population of zoo-environment gorillas," said Laura Bottaro, Zoo curator. "The baby looks strong and has begun to nurse, which is a sign of good health."

Zoo staff members conducted Kelele's ultrasound exams and prepared for the birth through various resources, including the Gorilla Species Survival Plan's (SSP) Birth Protocol.

"Kelele appears to be in excellent postnatal condition. She is holding her baby close and showing signs of appropriate maternal care," Bottaro said.

The new infant and mom Kelele will continue to spend time bonding and gradually interacting with other troop members.

While living at the Zoo, Bom Bom also sired a son, George, in 2004, with mom Kathy, who still lives at the Zoo, according to officials.

"It is heartening to know that the new infant has an older half-sibling here at the Zoo, and that Bom Bom's memory and legacy will continue for years to come," Bottaro said.

Another addition to Great EscApe arrived around Christmas time. Togo, a 24-year-old male silverback, Western lowland gorilla, came from the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Zoo officials say guests may be able to see the Zoo's newest family members but public visibility will vary as all introductions are determined by the comfort levels of the animals.