Gorilla Pregnancy Frequently Asked Questions

01/05/2017

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.