On Feb. 12, Bristol Zoo Gardens welcomed a very special new addition — a baby girl western lowland gorilla, weighing in at just over 1 kilogram.
We’re very excited to announce that a baby gorilla has been born at the Zoo after an emergency caesarean procedure https://t.co/962O8Z0EQG
— Bristol Zoo Gardens (@BristolZooGdns) February 23, 2016
But her entrance into this world was a complicated one, as the baby’s mother, Kera, showed symptoms of potentially life-threatening pre-eclampsia and had to undergo a caesarean.
Performing a caesarean on a gorilla is a complicated and extremely rare procedure, one that has been done only a handful of times in the world and only once before at Bristol Zoo. Luckily Professor David Cahill, a professor in reproductive medicine and medical education at Bristol University and gynaecologist at St Michael’s Hospital, was able to assist. Although he has delivered hundreds of babies during his career, this was his first time performing the procedure on a gorilla, Bristol Zoo Gardens reports.
“Having been involved with the care of these gorillas over the years, with some trepidation and excitement, we were invited to the zoo to assess the well-being of Kera, because she was in late pregnancy and showed some signs of being unwell”, Professor Cahill said.
“Following our assessment, we considered that Kera might have a condition that humans get (pre-eclampsia) and that the only way to treat it was by delivery. We also thought that the baby in her uterus was showing signs of being very unwell and in need of delivery. My colleague from St Michael’s hospital, Dr Aamna Ali, and I prepared for this extraordinary caesarean section and delivered a little girl gorilla”.
Both mom and baby, who is still unnamed, are doing very well, and although they are not available for viewing to the public, you can get a glimpse of her thanks to an adorable video the zoo has uploaded.
The event is particularly special, as senior curator of animals John Partridge explained on the zoo’s website.
He said, “The birth of any gorilla is a rare and exciting event; but the birth of a baby gorilla by caesarean section is even more unusual. It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly — Kera was becoming quite poorly and we needed to act fast in order to give the best possible treatment to mother and baby, and to avoid the possibility of losing the baby”.