It’s a happy time at the National Zoo, with new gorilla, Andean bear, and meerkat babies.
Western Lowland Gorilla
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered, so it was especially exciting for the birth of a baby on May 27th. There are now six gorillas at the zoo – mother Calaya and father Baraka with their new infant and older son, and another mother with her 14-year-old daughter. The public got to vote on a choice of names for the baby, and picked Zahra (Swahili for “beautiful flower”).
Zahra’s older brother
Zahra is Calaya’s second child. Five years ago, she gave birth to Moke. She’s been a very attentive mother to him, so the zoo is expecting things to go well for Zahra too.
The zoo’s female Andean bear, Brienne, gave birth to two male cubs in November, and we’ve been watching them since they went on display in March. Andean bears live in South America (except for Paddington, who travelled to England), and are considered vulnerable.
While meerkats are not considered endangered, it’s been 16 years since there were baby meerkats at the National Zoo. It’s the first litter for 5-year-old mother Sadie, who gave birth to three meerkats. Meerkats live in “mobs” of up to 30 meerkats – with the addition of these babies, the zoo now has six meerkats.