Baby gorilla at Calgary Zoo given extra care over worry it wasn't thriving

The baby gorilla at the Calgary Zoo is slowly getting healthier after veterinarians stepped in to give her extra care over concerns that she appeared to be weak and not thriving.

13-day-old ape making 'incremental progress' after staff intervened with food and water

Zoo staff briefly took over care of Kioja's 13-day-old baby on the weekend over concerns that it was not developing as quickly as it should. (Calgary Zoo )

The baby gorilla at the Calgary Zoo is slowly getting healthier after veterinarians stepped in to give her extra care over concerns that she appeared to be weak and not thriving. 

On Saturday, members of the animal care team anaesthetized the 13-day-old's mother, Kioja, so that they could handle the baby, feed it and give it fluids.

"The baby responded very well and since then, the Animal Care staff have not had to step in again," the zoo said in a release on Tuesday.

Zoo staff have been trying to maintain a hands-off approach to allow Kioja to learn how to care for her newborn.

"While we are extremely pleased with the bonding behaviours we have seen between mom and baby, we know the baby had a challenging start to life and is not developing as quickly as we had hoped," said Dr. Sandie Black, the zoo's head veterinarian.

"Day by day we are carefully monitoring and assessing the baby, ensuring that it is getting nourishment and is staying hydrated."

Kioja, who is 15, and her baby will stay with the rest of the gorilla troop, which includes seven-year-old Yewande, 15-year-old Dossi, 18-year-old Zuri, and a 37-year-old male silverback, Kakinga.

"This is the healthiest social situation, where Kioja is most comfortable and able to focus on mothering," the zoo said.

The TransAlta Rainforest Building, where the troop lives, reopens to the public on Tuesday for limited hours — from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"Our Animal Care team is looking to restore some routine for the gorillas and allow them to be comfortable with guests and large crowds," the zoo said. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.