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Baby Gorilla Is Born via Rare Emergency C-Section

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Published on Mar 14, 2014

It's a girl! Rare emergency C-section performed on gorilla at San Diego Zoo.

Full Story:

An 18-year-old gorilla gave birth to a baby girl Wednesday (March 12) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park via a rare emergency Caesarian section operation.

Earlier in the day, the gorilla, named Imani, showed signs of labor and was closely observed by animal care and veterinary staff. By evening, she showed no signs of progress and was transported to the Safari Park veterinary hospital for an emergency C-section.

Imani's full-term baby, weighing 4.6 pounds, was delivered by a team zoo staff and outside consultants including a veterinary surgeon and human neonatal specialists from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center.

The baby is showing some complications believed to be related to the difficult labor, and she is currently in intensive care receiving oxygen and supplemental fluids at the veterinary hospital. Imani is recovering from surgery in the familiar surroundings of the gorilla bedroom area.

"In retrospect the C-section was the right decision," Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park said of the newborn gorilla. "We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer," Lamberski said.

So far, the baby is doing well.

"She's extremely strong. She can grasp, she kicks, she's vocal. Has a very strong supple reflex. She looks around. She can hold her own head up which is pretty amazing," says Lamberski.

This is the first baby for Imani and the 17th gorilla to be born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park is home to eight gorillas, including the new baby. There are four females: Vila, Kamilah, Kokamo, and Imani; two young males: Monroe, born at the Safari Park in 2011, and Frank, born at the San Diego Zoo in 2008; and adult male Winston, the silverback leader of the troop.

The San Diego Zoo's conservation and science work takes place locally at the zoo as well as at international field programs on six continents.

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