Video: Jacksonville Zoo Welcomes Newborn Western Lowland Gorilla

Oct 3, 2018

An endangered Western lowland gorilla has been born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

22-year-old Kumbuka gave birth to the 4.8-pound female on Friday, September 28.

The zoo decided to temporarily remove the infant from Kumbuka’s care because the mother was cradling and carrying her daughter improperly and had behaved the same way when she lost two previous offspring.

The zoo’s staff theorizes that Kumbuka’s hearing disability may prevent her from detecting when her youngsters are in distress.

The zoo said the decision is supported by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Gorilla SSP (Species Survival Plan) group.

Kumbuka arrived in Jacksonville in 2014. Her hearing trouble was confirmed through consultation with audiologists from Nemours Children’s Specialty Care.

Her keepers hope to improve Kumbuka’s chances for maternal success by continuing to each her the correct way to position an infant and other essential maternal skills.

Once the baby is strong enough to adjust herself the zoo hopes to reunite her with her mom.

The baby gorilla does not have a name yet. The zoo plans to raise funds for her care and for wild gorilla conservation, by offering the opportunity to name her at its Toast to Conservation on November 17.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.