Baby gorilla born at Toronto Zoo

Ngozi, a Western lowland gorilla, gave birth to a baby overnight on Thursday.

Name, sex as yet to be determined

The baby has remained close to its mother since its birth overnight on Thursday. (Toronto Zoo)

The Toronto Zoo has its hands full with baby animals this week.

Only days after a polar bear cub took his first steps, the Zoo announced Ngozi, a Western lowland gorilla, gave birth to a healthy baby.

It's not clear what the gender of the baby is yet, since it is sticking very close to its mother. Charles, a silverback gorilla, is the newborn's father.

The baby arrived overnight on Thursday.

Ngozi came to Toronto from Seattle, Washington, in 2008, specifically to mate with Charles.

"There has been a drastic decline in wild populations of gorillas worldwide due to hunting, disease and habitat loss. Over the past three generations, experts estimate a more than 80% decline in their population, and we need to act now to prevent the risk of their extinction," said Maria Franke of the Zoo. "The birth of this offspring is one step further in our efforts to save this critically endangered species and showcases the important role zoos play in global conservation."      

This is the 10th offspring for Charles, who was born in 1972 in Gabon and brought to the Toronto Zoo as a baby himself. The silverback was less than a year old when it was discovered lying next to his mother, who had been shot dead by poachers.

A critically endangered species, Western lowland gorillas are found in the rainforests of Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.