Calgary Zoo 'cautiously optimistic' baby gorilla and mom will get along

Kioja has been carrying the baby with her and showing "consistent signs of being a great mother," the zoo said on Friday.

Kioja showing affection for baby

The Calgary Zoo's Kioja delivered a baby this week. (Calgary Zoo)

As soon as her baby was born, Kioja scooped the new addition to her family up in her arms and hasn't let it go. 

Zookeepers say it's a good sign that Kioja, one of the Calgary Zoo's Western lowland gorillas, and her new baby will get along. 

Kioja has been carrying the baby with her and showing "consistent signs of being a great mother," the zoo said on Friday. 

"So far it's doing very, very well," said Malu Celli, a curator at the Calgary Zoo. "She's turning out so far to be a fantastic mom."

Father and silverback Kakinga has been protective of his son or daughter —  keepers can't yet get close enough to determine the baby's sex. 

Before the baby was born, Kioja took the gorilla version of prenatal classes. Since she'd been raised by humans, zookeepers were concerned that the expectant mother might not have maternal instincts. 

She took training sessions twice a day, practicing with a stuffed animal named Chucky. 

The issues Kioja could face range from not knowing how to properly carry a baby to not giving a tiny gorilla the care and attention it needs.

"She's keeping it really, really close, we've seen it nurse, it's sleeping by her, the rest of the troop is extremely interested but she's being very, very attentive and so far we couldn't be more pleased," said Celli.

This is the first gorilla born at the Calgary Zoo since 2008. The TransAlta Rainforest building will reopen to visitors sometime next week.

Kioja, left, rests with her newborn baby on her chest as silverback and father Kakinga stays close by. (Calgary Zoo)


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