The Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, in New York, has seen the birth of two new adorable baby gorillas. These births are the first for the zoo in eight years; another birth may take just as long or longer.
The oldest birth mother is Julia, a 33-year-old Gorilla who gave birth on March 10. The second mother is 19-year-old Tuti; she gave birth on April 17. Interestingly enough, both gorillas were fathered by none only that Ernie, a 31-year-old male gorilla.
In the past, both mothers have given birth to babies successfully. Tuti gave birth to one, while Julia gave birth to two. It is not certain of Julia will be able to give birth to a fourth child in her lifetime; however, Tuti has a long way to go.
The newborn babies are the 14th and 15th gorillas to be born at the zoo's Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit since it opened its doors back in 1991. Since 1972, fifty gorillas were born at the zoo, and that number is expected to rise further in the coming years.
The baby gorillas will stay close to their mothers for the next three or four months. At six months, they will begin eating solid food, but will continue to require mothers' nursing until around age 3 or 4. Furthermore, these babies can grow up to six feet tall and weigh up to 450 pounds.
At the moment, the gender of the babies is unknown; this is mainly because zookeepers are not allowed to inspect the young gorillas due to a possible violent attack from the mothers and father himself. It would likely take months before zookeepers are certain of their gender.
So far, the Bronx Zoo is home to 20 gorillas, which is the largest group of apes together in North America.
It is great to see so many gorillas in one place, and that is a good place for them to give birth. However, it would be even better if these creatures were released back into the wild rather than spending the rest of their lives in captivity for entertainment purposes.