The western lowland gorilla Salome gave birth on Tuesday, but the baby has not yet been named because Salome, 35, is so protective of her third child that she won’t loosen her grip for keepers to determine its sex.
Salome cradles her sleeping newborn at Bristol Zoo
Salome was given the human fertility drug Clomid – which encourages the ovaries to release eggs – in 2006 after her keepers noticed she had failed to conceive despite mating regularly with partner Jock.
The treatment was a success and she gave birth to a son, Komale, later that year. Her first baby was conceived naturally and born in 1988.
Salome cradling her newborn gorilla baby, still wet seconds after being born at Bristol Zoo Gardens yesterday
Both mother and baby appear to be doing well, and the Gorilla House has been closed to allow the gorillas, including the newborn’s father Jock, time to bond with the new arrival.
Hours later Salome is still cuddling her new baby, which is starting to open its eyes
Salome manages to get a few minutes shut eye while the baby nestles in close
Salome strokes her baby gently with one finger
Salome takes her tiny new addition outside for some fresh air while it clings on to her
The gorillas at Bristol Zoo are part of an international conservation breeding programme for the western lowland gorilla, which is a critically endangered species.
The western lowland gorilla is an endangered species, with just 100,000 left in the wild.