On Valentine’s Day, the North Carolina Zoo announced that one of its three female gorillas is expecting a baby. If the pregnancy is successful, this will be the third baby gorilla born at the State Zoo in less than a year. The two other female gorillas both gave birth last August.
The new mother is 18-year-old Acacia, and zookeepers say that several recent positive pregnancy tests have confirmed the pending birth. Zookeepers think the due date is mid-June to late July. The father is a 22-year-old gorilla named Nkosi, who arrived at the N.C. Zoo from the Columbus Zoo in March 2008. He is also the father of the two gorillas born last August.
Until male gorilla Bomassa was born on August 4, 2012, the State Zoo had not seen a gorilla birth in 23 years. Four weeks after his birth, another male – Apollo – was born. Since then, both the infants and their mothers have done very well and have also become the zoo’s most popular attractions.
The N.C. Zoo would consider the successful birth of a third gorilla in less than one year a rare and significant achievement. Currently there are only about 350 gorillas in 52 AZA-accredited (Association of Zoos & Aquariums ) zoos with just four successful births out of eight pregnancies recorded during 2011 and early 2012.