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Latino Daily News

Wednesday August 6, 2014

South America Welcomes First Gorilla Born in Captivity

South America Welcomes First Gorilla Born in Captivity

Photo: Baby gorilla in Belo Horizonte

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The zoo in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, is the home of the first gorilla born in captivity in South America, the Fundacion Zoo-Botanica said.

The baby gorilla, whose gender is not yet known, was born on Tuesday, the foundation said in a statement.

Determining the animal’s gender is difficult because baby gorillas cling to their mothers for the first few months of their lives, zoo director Gladstone Correa said.

The mother will likely seek to protect her baby by keeping it in the most isolated part of the gorilla enclosure, the Fundacion Zoo-Botanica said.

The baby’s father, “Leon,” who weighs 180 kilos (nearly 400 pounds) and is 16, arrived in Belo Horizonte in late 2013 from the Loro Parque Zoo in Spain.

“Lou Lou,” the baby’s mother, arrived around the same time from the Howletts Wild Animal Park in Britain.

The 10-year-old mother weighs just under 69 kilos (151 pounds), the foundation said.

Lou Lou and her baby will continue living with Leon and Imbi, a 14-year-old female gorilla.

Imbi is also pregnant by Leon, the only male gorilla in South America, and is expected to give birth in late October.

Gorilla families in the wild are composed of a single male and several females.

Gorillas, herbivores that live in the forests of central Africa, have a gestation period of eight to nine months.

The animals have a lifespan of between 30 and 50 years.

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