Local News

Death of NC Zoo's newborn gorilla likely accidental

Posted July 10, 2013

— A western lowland gorilla born Sunday afternoon at the North Carolina Zoo has died, zoo officials said Wednesday, calling it one of the saddest events in the zoo's history.

Staff believes first-time mother Acacia, 18, inadvertently rolled over onto the unnamed newborn while she was sleeping. Keepers made the discovery during a check Tuesday night and said Acacia had been holding him at the time.

"Early indications are that it was most likely accidental," Dr. Adrian Fowler, the zoo's curator of mammals, said in a statement. "Primate mothers often lose their first baby due to inexperience or just accidentally, but they usually go on to successful births in the future.”

The baby gorilla was delivered via caesarean section after what the zoo called a difficult 24 hours of labor.

Acadia, zoo officials said, had showed "encouraging interest" in her baby since then and that by Tuesday afternoon had become protective of him and appeared to be nursing well.

"All the signs were that the evening would be quite uneventful," said Chris Goldston, the zoo's animal management supervisor for gorillas.

The baby gorilla was the third born within the year. Bomassa was born on Aug. 4. Apollo was born Aug. 31. Both are on exhibit daily with their parents.


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  • hlnorton74 Jul 11, 2013

    Awww... so sad. Humans do this too. That's why new parents are told never to bring their baby into their bed. Often new parents are overly tired and this can happen accidentally.

  • feistyredhead2001 Jul 11, 2013

    That is so terrible and I am sure that like a human mom.... that mother is suffering a loss too. Not to mention the fact that that little girl NEEDS a name. My prayers are with the staff and the mother of that precious little girl.

  • sweetlyght Jul 11, 2013

    What a shame.

  • whatdidusay Jul 10, 2013

    PETA will probably want someone charged with manslaughter

  • greg69innc Jul 10, 2013

    This is just terrible no words are possible for this unfortunate tragedy. The flags ought to be raised to half staff tomorrow for the dedication and hard work in making this birth possible by the staff.

  • Obamacare rules Jul 10, 2013

    Sad that there are some humans who do the same thing to their newborns, or so they claim.

  • Glass Half Full Jul 10, 2013

    Sorry to hear it.

  • crystalswisher Jul 10, 2013

    Poor thing..........

  • TimeWillTell Jul 10, 2013

    This is sad news. My family attends the NC Zoo regularly, and the gorilla exhibit is always one of the most popular. The new mother, Acacia, was pretty much shunned by the other two females after their infants were born, and it was hoped that Acacia would be better accepted after she had one of her own.

    Slow news day? Maybe. But the huge crowds that attend the zoo underscore the interest that many people have in the facility, and having three gorilla births there in a single year is remarkable.

  • Scubagirl Jul 10, 2013

    that's too bad :(