Great Ape Updates


Philadelphia Zoo's 17-year-old female western lowland gorilla, Kira, continues her journey to motherhood smoothly and healthily.

Just as all human woman experience pregnancy differently, the same can be said for gorillas. Unlike Honi, Kira has not experienced any morning sickness or food cravings. Interestingly, as Kira continues to progress with her pregnancy, our expectant gorilla mom does not require any additional calories until the baby is born, and continues to maintain her healthy appetite for produce, leafy greens and chow.

Although this is the first pregnancy for Kira, Philadelphia Zoo's primate staff believe she is well-prepared to be a first-time mother. Kira was an excellent older sister and care-giver for her younger siblings before her arrival in Philadelphia. She has also benefited from observing, Honi, throughout her pregnancy, delivery and continued nurturing of baby Amani.

The new baby will be Amani's half-sibling through Motuba.

Amani, will be 5 months old on January 26 and continues to develop into an active and inquisitive gorilla. Amani still travels primarily on Honi's arms or legs but is quickly on the move once her mother puts her down. Keen to explore her surroundings, Amani can often be seen crawling around to investigate new toys throughout the exhibit and sample various solid foods.

Look Who's Expecting


Philadelphia Zoo is pleased to announce that Kira, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla is pregnant--the baby is expected early this summer. Kira's pregnancy was confirmed through an over-the-counter home pregnancy test, the same test used by humans. This is the first pregnancy for Kira and the third offspring for 32-year-old male Motuba, whose daughter Amani was born at the Zoo just this past August. The new baby will be Amani's half-sibling through Motuba. This mama-to-be has shown a lot of interest in baby Amani, and was a great older sister to her younger siblings, so she is expected to be a well-prepared, first-time mother.

For More Information:

Philadelphia Zoo Press Release

Gorilla Pregnancy Frequently Asked Questions

Gorilla Pregnancy Frequently Asked Questions


What is the typical gestation period for a gorilla?
The normal gestation period for a gorilla is about 8.5 months. Kira’s baby is expected in June 2017.

Who is the father?
The baby was sired by the gorilla troop's silverback, 32-year-old Motuba. Motuba already has one daughter named Bambio at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, born in 2003, and his daughter Amani here, with 22-year-old Honi.

Is this Kira’s first pregnancy?
Yes this is Kira’s first pregnancy.

How much do baby gorillas weigh?
Newborn gorillas can weigh about 4 lbs.

What will the baby gorilla eat?
The baby will exclusively nurse for the first 4 to 6 months, then will begin to eat solids. It will continue to nurse to some extent for at least 3-4 years. 

How long will the baby stay with mom?
Gorilla babies stay in constant contact with their mothers for several months after birth. From the time they're about 4 months to 2 or 3 years old, young gorillas often ride on their mothers' backs as a form of transportation. At around 7 to 10 years, the young gorilla will become mature enough to leave its mother – in the wild, gorillas often leave the group they were born in at this time.

Will the baby and mom Kira continue to live with Motuba, Honi and Amani?
Yes. The family will continue to live together unless behavior or health issues indicate we should handle differently.

What other gorilla’s live at the Zoo?
Philadelphia Zoo has six western lowland gorillas: 32-year-old Motuba, 22-year-old Honi, Honi’s baby Amani, 17-year-old Kira, 17-year-old Louis, and 14-year-old Kuchimba, who is also Honi’s son.

This will be the second gorilla baby born in PECO Primate Reserve within a year. Amani was born to 22-year-old Honi and 32-year-old Motuba in August 2016. 

What is the conservation status of gorillas?
Western lowland gorillas are listed as Critically Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and disease. There are also long-term threats to gorilla survival from climate change and the continued expansion of palm oil plantations. Forests in African countries like Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the next frontier for palm oil. Guests can help protect gorillas living in these places by asking the makers of their favorite brands to use palm oil that doesn’t destroy gorilla habitat. Philadelphia Zoo encourages guests to advocate for great apes and empowers them to take action that will save these majestic animals.