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Baby gorilla’s birth celebrated at National Zoo


It’s a boy! Meet Moke, a baby gorilla born on Sunday at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

The newborn’s mom, 15-year-old Calaya, is one of the zoo’s western lowland gorillas. The father, Baraka, 26, issued a “pleasure rumble” as his son was born, the Washington Post reported.

In Lingala, a language of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Moke (pronounced Mo—KEY) means “junior” or “little one.”

But the hairy little guy is a big deal and instant celebrity. He’s the first male western lowland gorilla born at the zoo in nine years.

“The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates, in a statement on the zoo’s website.

Calaya the gorilla gave birth to Moke on April 15, 2018 at the Smithsonian National Zoo *** Local Caption ***

(National Zoo)

“The primate team’s goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother. Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya.”

Mom, meanwhile, has been busy caring for her new baby.

The zoo notes that is “cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive. Animal care staff are leaving Calaya to bond with and care for her baby without interference. The Great Ape House is closed to provide Calaya a quiet space to bond with her infant.”