Death of NC Zoo's newborn gorilla likely accidental
Posted July 10, 2013
Asheboro, N.C. — 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.