Lincoln Park Zoo’s western lowland gorilla Rollie delivered her own Mother’s Day gift last weekend when she gave birth to a male.
The baby gorilla was born May 12 at the zoo’s Regenstein Center for African Apes and is staying tucked in close to his mother, as a newborn should, according to the zoo.
The yet-to-be named infant is the second offspring for Rollie, who gave birth to female Nayembi in 2012. Kwan, the infant’s father and the family’s dominant male gorilla (known as a silverback), is continuing to watch closely over Rollie and their newborn, the zoo said.
“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival,” said Jill Moyse, the zoo’s curator of primates, in a statement. “Rollie is an experienced mother who is displaying appropriate maternal skills and care.”
The infant joins a family of seven other gorillas. In addition to the newborn’s parents, Rollie and Kwan, the group includes adult females Bana and Bahati and three juvenile females, Bella, Nayembi and Patty.
Rollie and Kwan were recommended to breed as part of the Species Survival Plan for western lowland gorillas, which are critically endangered due to habitat loss and poaching in their native Central Africa.
“It’s really amazing to see this family group grow and adapt,” Moyse said in a statement. “Lincoln Park Zoo’s last gorilla birth was in 2015 when the troop welcomed newborn Bella. It’s an exciting time to visit Regenstein Center for African Apes where you can see different life stages of the gorillas from newborn infant to full-grown silverback.”
Regenstein Center for African Apes will remain closed intermittently as the zoo’s gorilla group acclimates to its new member. The ape building is scheduled to return to its regular hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on Saturday, May 18.
Zoo members can get an early look at the newborn during a series of members-only sneak peek events, which are scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon from Wednesday through Friday.