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Bristol Zoo Gorilla birth at Bristol

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Nisha, 23 Feb 2016.

  1. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    Gorilla, Kera has given birth to a daughter: The baby was born on 12th February by C-Section following Kera being diagnosed with preeclampsia.

    She is now being handreared following her dramatic arrival but is said to be doing well so far. It is believed that she was sired by Komale rather than Silverback, Jock

    Congratulations to Bristol staff (and the proud parents) :cool:


    A baby western lowland gorilla has been born at a British zoo after a rare caesarean.

    The female, now 11 days old, was delivered after its mother showed symptoms of potentially life-threatening pre-eclampsia.

    The baby gorilla, which is yet to be named, was born at Bristol zoo weighing just over 1kg (2lb, 10oz).

    It needed help from vets before it was able to breathe independently, but is now doing well and is being hand-reared round the clock by a small team of experienced gorilla keepers.

    Its mother, Kera, is recovering and is being monitored closely by keepers and the zoo’s veterinary team.

    It is the first time a gorilla has been born by caesarean at the zoo. There have only been a handful of gorilla births worldwide using the procedure.

    John Partridge, senior curator of animals at Bristol, said the baby gorilla – whose father is Komale – was not yet on show to the public.

    “The birth of any gorilla is a rare and exciting event but the birth of a baby gorilla by caesarean section is even more unusual,” he said.

    “It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly. Kera was becoming quite poorly and we needed to act fast in order to give the best possible treatment to mother and baby and to avoid the possibility of losing the baby.”

    After being assessed by the zoo’s vets, the caesarean was carried out by David Cahill, professor in reproductive medicine and medical education at the University of Bristol and a gynaecologist at St Michael’s hospital.

    Despite having delivered hundreds of human babies by caesarean in his career, this was the first time Cahill had delivered a baby gorilla by this procedure.

    “Having been involved with the care of these gorillas over the years, with some trepidation and excitement, we were invited to the zoo to assess the wellbeing of Kera, because she was in late pregnancy and showed some signs of being unwell,” he said.

    “Following our assessment, we considered that Kera might have pre-eclampsia, a condition that humans get, and that the only way to treat it was by delivery. We also thought that the baby in her uterus was showing signs of being very unwell and in need of delivery.

    Rowena Killick, a vet at the zoo, assisted with the procedure and the immediate treatment of the baby, including performing emergency resuscitation.

    “This was a very challenging operation and we are immensely grateful for the expert help we received which meant we were able to give care at the very highest level,” she said.

    “The baby needed some intensive care immediately after birth and it is still very early days, but we are cautiously optimistic and will be keeping a very close eye on both her and Kera.”

    Lynsey Bugg, curator of mammals at the zoo, is one of a small team of keepers providing 24-hour care for the infant.

    She said: “The first few days were critical for the baby, it was vital that she was kept warm and began taking small amounts of formula milk. We started ‘skin-to-skin’ contact – a process used with human newborn babies – and she responded well to this and is getting stronger and more alert each day.


    Baby gorilla born via a caesarean at Bristol zoo | World news | The Guardian
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2016
  2. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Wouldn't the father be Jock?
     
  3. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    yes if he was the only male in the group but Komale has tried to mate with Kera since her arrival, and may well have succeeded. Jock does try to break off this but cannot have eyes everywhere.
     
  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised they aren't aware that 'Goliath' born 1980 to mother Diana at Bristol, was also born by C-section, possibly the first such event anywhere.

    Anyway, good news to wake up to though it sounds as if it was touch and go for the baby at first. This emergency may well have been why there was an announcement on the FB page a week or so back saying the house was temporarily closed for 'animal husbandry'.
     
  5. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I was told Kera and Jock do not mate, though I don't know the exact reason, but probably due to her handraised background. Komale on the other hand being much younger and familiar as a playmate to her, would not pose any threat and so able to 'get to grips with her' in play-which leads to mating. They do say further down the press release that he is the father, which indicates this to be the case.

    I am not sure if he is still at Bristol now as they are/were looking to rehome him since the new female Touni arrived.
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2016
  6. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Jock had trouble catching her and she was not doing anything to endear herself to him. Not surprised it is Komale as I have seen him mate with her on several occasions, while keeping a good eye out for Jock.

    Not been for a while myself as life gets in the way.

    Cannot remember Touni arriving, do you have background on her?
     
  7. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    Touni arrived from Vallee de Singes last October
     
  8. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    Slightly more in depth article on what is likely to happen next. Suggestions that they may try and get Romina to foster her if Kera won't take her back

    Also mentions Komale again who is still at Bristol but may not be for much longer. Parentage still seems a little bit uncertain (possible they will do tests at a later date to confirm either way)

    Gorilla born by caesarean doing well as mother recovers | UK news | The Guardian
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2016
  9. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Komale was split from the group when I last saw them in December. I guess he probably still is. I'll wager he's the father of the baby.
     
  10. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations to the whole team at Bristol. A potentially dangerous situation seems to have been handled very well. When I heard on the radio that the baby might be fostered by one of the females, I immediately thought of Salome, as the more experienced mother. But it would be wrong to second-guess the gorilla keepers at Bristol, who certainly know their animals very well: they would not suggest Romina as foster-mother without good reason.

    Alan
     
  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Romina was a very good mother to Namoki. She was born nine years ago so R.is evidently unlikely to ever breed again with Jock, so a good subject for an adoption. Salome has reared more offspring but also presents possible complications- she could become(or even be) pregnant again and have another baby herself, plus her son Kukena might try and interfere with a surrogacy attempt. Romina would seem the obvious choice if they try this- unless Kera herself shows strong interest.
     
    Last edited: 24 Feb 2016
  12. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    6 week update

    A new update 6 weeks on: Baby is still being handreared but is doing well. A survey has been launched (link the article below) to choose her name. They are still looking at the possibility of her being fostered by another female within the Bristol group

    Kera has suffered health problems since the birth but is said be slowly recovering:

    Welcome to the fast developing world of the planet's most famous baby gorilla.

    The tiny ape has been delighting her keepers since her dramatic entrance by emergency caesarean carried out by one of the country's top gynaecologists. Yet the 5lb youngster, who is being hand-reared around the clock by staff at Bristol Zoo, is missing two things: a name of her own and the constant care of her mother.

    As Bristol Zoo released a new series of films and photograph's for the six week old gorilla's family album, staff gave a detailed update of how she is progressing well since the decision was taken to operate on her mother, Kera.

    The mother western lowland gorilla was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia prior to the birth last month and is still too unwell to look after her baby, although she has been introduced to her offspring to help her recovery.

    Kera has been given a blood transfusion from another of the zoo's gorillas, one of the few times this procedure has ever been carried out. She has also been receiving oxygen.

    Curator of mammals, Lynsey Bugg, one of the team looking after the baby, said: "Kera has been very poorly with anaemia and a suspected chest infection, on top of recovering from the pre-eclampsia. There have been a few times when we have not been sure whether she would pull through, it's been a very delicate recovery for her and she is still not 100 per cent

    "From the very start we have introduced the baby to Kera and the other gorillas in the group. Kera has shown little interest, probably because she has been so poorly, so we had no choice but to continue hand-rearing the baby.

    "However, the other female gorillas have been very interested in the baby and have displayed good, protective behaviours towards her, which is very encouraging.

    "In light of this, we are now exploring the possibility of one of our other female gorillas fostering the infant. We have also been discussing other options with our colleagues who manage the gorilla European breeding programme"

    Maximising her contact with the rest of her gorilla clan has become an important part of the development of the baby gorilla. She has not gone on public show at Bristol Zoo and spends all day inside the gorilla house, getting used to the sounds, sights and smells of the other great apes.

    "It is vital that she knows she is a gorilla," said Lynsey, "so we are doing everything we can to minimise her contact with people and maximise her contact with other gorillas."

    When the baby was born last month the event made global news.

    She was delivered by Professor David Cahill, a professor in reproductive medicine and medical education at Bristol University and gynaecologist at the city's St Michael's Hospital, in the first ever caesarean operation on a gorilla ever carried out in Britain.

    "Along with having my own children, this is probably one of the biggest achievements of my life and something I will certainly never forget," he said after the surgery.

    Since then, the baby has delighted staff at the zoo with her development, reaching similar key milestones as human babies but earlier, teething at four weeks and giggling and trying to roll over at five weeks.

    "She is doing really well; she is getting noticeably stronger week by week, which is great," explained Lynsey.

    "Her arm muscles are becoming more defined, her grip is stronger and she is increasingly alert and attentive. She might be small but she is already showing an assertive side to her personality and grunts and coughs at us if we don't give her her milk quickly enough

    "She is meeting all the targets for her age, continues to feed well and has milk every two hours both night and day, which is pretty exhausting, it's very much like taking care of a human newborn baby."

    The public are being asked to choose one of three names for the old baby gorilla as she reaches the six-week mark.

    Names on offer all have a geographical or traditional link to traditional haunts of western lowland gorillas. They are: Maiombe (a geographical region in Africa covering gorillas' native countries); Afia (meaning 'Friday born child' in Ghanian) and Pianga (from Pianga-Makeshi, a place in the Democratic Republic of Congo).

    You can vote for your favourite name, by clicking here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WTYD8VD Alternatively, visit the Zoo's Facebook page.


    https://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/655074/Miracle-baby-gorilla-caesarian-Bristol-zoo-mother-Kera
     
  13. OrangePerson

    OrangePerson Well-Known Member

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    I desperately hope they can keep her at Bristol, not a fan of the Stuttgart set-up at all.

    Poor Kera, I'm shocked she's still so ill. Wonder if they should ever risk her becoming pregnant again.
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Tricky situation. Try to foster it within the group, or send to it to Stuttgart and so continue the cycle Kera herself was a product of..

    If she(Kera) pulls through they may well decide no more babies for her after this.
     
  15. MagpieGoose

    MagpieGoose Well-Known Member

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  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    'Afia' was definately the nicest name:)- it was, according to their Facebook comments, the early clear favourite.

    From what's been said so far, I think they have a better chance of fostering her to Romina than Kera, who having been so sick, probably isn't much interested, nor do they know if she has good maternal instinct anyway, whereas Romina definately does.

    The baby would need to be a good deal older and stronger before they make any such decision though.
     
    Last edited: 31 Mar 2016
  17. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I'm pleased as I voted for 'Afia', although an Ashanti day-name would be more appropriate for a chimp than a gorilla (Kumasi is a long way west of the gorilla's range).
    I hope they can succeed in fostering her with Romina.
    BBC Video at How do you bring up a baby gorilla? - BBC News

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 31 Mar 2016
  18. persimon

    persimon Well-Known Member

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    Most females that come from Stuttgart raise perfectly their offspring! Please heck the facts, you shoudl know better. The background of Kera has nothing to do the problems they encountered in Bristol.
     
  19. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I should have perhaps made it clearer. You have evidently assumed I was referring to maternal instinct, which I wasn't. Many handraised females have reared their own young. More commonly the problems they still can sometimes have are with socialising normally with other gorillas, particularly mating with adult silverbacks and so becoming pregnant in the first place- Kera being an example, as is another UK female at Twycross.
     
    Last edited: 1 Apr 2016
  20. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Which makes a case for young males to stay in the group as long as possible, mating with an younger animals that is less dominating and a chance of rearing my help later coupling with a silverback, when the black male is removed from the group?