Endangered gorilla baby is Twycross Zoo's new attraction
TWYCROSS Zoo is celebrating the birth of a very special little ape.
The baby western lowland gorilla, native to central Africa, is a particularly precious arrival as its species is on the critically endangered list.
The baby was born to mum Ozala and silverback dad Oumbi, in a natural and stress-free birth, and Mum is keeping her baby very close.
Charlotte Macdonald, curator of living collections, said: "Ozala is a confident, attentive mother and is taking great care of her baby.
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"The baby's father is gentle but protective and is showing a lot of interest in the infant.
"In time, he will touch and play with the baby but, for now, he lets Ozala take things at her own pace."
Mum Ozala was born at Twycross Zoo in 1994.
The newborn joins a close family unit made up of father Oumbi and grandmother Biddi. Ozala's half-sister, Asante, will also provide a helping hand as the young gorilla grows up.
Charlotte added: "The baby will be carried around by mum for the next couple of years but will, of course, gradually become more independent, just going back to Ozala for reassurance and comfort.
"The baby will not be weaned until it is around three to four years old but, even then, will remain close to Ozala for another couple of years after that."
There are estimated to be fewer than 100,000 western lowland gorillas left in the wild, with hunting, habitat loss and the ebola virus bringing the species close to extinction.