Philadelphia Zoo Names New Baby Gorilla


baby gorilla(Philadelphia, PA) - June 28, 2017 --- Today, Philadelphia Zoo’s gorilla family chose a name for its newest addition: a western lowland gorilla baby boy born to Kira, the Zoo’s 17-year-old female and 32-year old Motuba on June 2nd. The Zoo partnered with the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its Congolese youth and conservation club to generate a list of names that signify the importance of this amazing birth. The group submitted ten names and zookeepers narrowed the list down to three:
  • Wasingya (Wa-SEEN-jah; meaning: Thank you very much)
  • Lwanzo (La-WAN-zoh; meaning: Love)
  • Ajabu (ah-JAH-boo; meaning: Miracle; wonderful, amazing thing)
The Zoo then gave the newborn’s parents the opportunity to make the final selection. How you might ask?? Zookeeper’s decorated boxes adorned with names and filled with them treats; the first box chosen would be the baby’s name. Mom Kira ventured out first and chose the box with name Ajabu, on the front, which means miracle in Swahili.

Ajabu, the Zoo’s the healthy baby boy was delivered on June 2nd by a team of professionals, from the veterinary and human medical field, including an ob-gyn, surgeons, anesthesiologists and others, from leading area institutions such as University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital using the same process, tools and techniques used for human deliveries, including forceps and episiotomy. 

“We are very happy that Ajabu’s mom Kira chose her first offspring’s name,” says Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer. “Kira is doing a fantastic job as a first time mom, and mom and baby are both doing great,” says Baker.

Western lowland gorillas are listed as Critically Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with threats including habitat destruction due to palm oil and timber plantations as global demand for palm oil and paper continues to rise. The Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to protect and sustain populations of endangered and other species across AZA zoos.

The newborn currently lives in PECO Primate Reserve with mom Kira, dad Motuba and other troop mates Honi and her baby Amani. All new babies at Philadelphia Zoo are hugged by St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. To see all the new babies at Philadelphia Zoo, visit To learn more about St. Christopher’s, visit or call 1-888-CHRISKIDS (247-4754). Find them on social media at,, on Instagram at @stchrishospital and Twitter at @stchrishospital.