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International News: Gorilla, previously thought to be male, gave birth at Ohio Zoo

Posted: Friday, August 4, 2023. 5:37 pm CST.

Photo credit: Columbus  Zoo/Twitter

By Breaking Belize News Staff: In an interesting event, Columbus Zoo in Ohio was taken by surprise when a gorilla, believed to be male for four years, gave birth. This event has shed light on the challenges in identifying the sex of younger gorillas and has highlighted the zoo’s ongoing commitment to conservation.

Sully, the gorilla in question, has been a resident at the zoo since 2019. On Thursday, she was discovered with her newborn baby, sending shock waves through the zoo staff. Zookeepers were thrilled to find both mother and child appearing healthy. “The infant appears to be healthy,” they said in a blog post.

The zookeepers described the event as “unexpected, yet exciting” and underlined its importance for the conservation of this critically endangered species.

Until the surprise discovery, Sully’s gender had been mistakenly identified. The zookeepers explained that it’s challenging to tell the sex of younger gorillas, noting that “until about eight, males and females are about the same size, and they don’t have prominent sex organs. Males don’t develop their silver backs until 12 or later.”

Adding to the complexity, gorillas don’t typically show signs of pregnancy, thanks to their large abdomens, and infant gorillas are notably smaller than human babies.

Sully’s good health had not necessitated any physical examinations, leading to the mix-up. The birth represents the 34th gorilla born at Columbus Zoo since 1956, reinforcing its status as a leader in the conservation of this majestic species. “We’re thrilled by the addition of another birth for this critically endangered species,” the zoo shared in a statement.

The Columbus Zoo is well-known for being the first zoo in the world to celebrate the birth of a baby gorilla, marking a significant milestone in 1956. Sully’s baby girl adds to that rich history and plays an essential role in the conservation efforts for these magnificent creatures.

To determine the father, DNA tests will be conducted. Sully shares her habitat with a troop led by the 39-year-old silverback Mac, which includes two younger males, Kamoli, 10, and JJ, six.

In closing, the zoo confidently announced the sex of the new arrival, stating, “It’s a girl! Our team confirmed that visually and with photographs that were also sent to a primate expert at another leading zoological facility.”

 

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