TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There's a new baby gorilla at the Toledo Zoo. Both those who were there to visit as well as everyone who works there, were ecstatic about the new addition.
The gorillas are all trying to protect the little guy. Mom didn't make much of an appearance and dad stayed by the window the entire time. He even got a little tired of interviews being too close and banged on the glass to remind onlookers of his protective presence.
"We are inviting everybody out to the Toledo Zoo. We're really excited about our new birth. We have a six-day-old gorilla baby. A little boy named Mokonzi. He was born on Friday last week and we just couldn't be happier," said Michael Frushour, Associate Curator of Mammals at the Toledo Zoo.
Mokonzi, which means governor in Swahili, is baby number three for 23-year-old mother, Kitani, and baby number five for 29-year-old father, Kwisha.
Three other females are a part of this group, but there hasn't been a baby there since Kitani had her last one in 2003. The parents are really good at their jobs and the other females in the group are learning how to be mothers by observing Kitani's nurture.
"Dad will get involved, as I said, the first couple of months he's with mom pretty much 24/7 but as he starts crawling around, dad here will start playing with him a little bit," explained Mike Payne, Gorilla Keeper.
Because Kitani is such a good mom, the zoo named the baby, but hasn't done much else other than watch over him every day until about 3 p.m. They weren't even around for the birth.
Mokonzi was a Thanksgiving surprise and was born sometime Thursday night or Friday morning.
Unlike humans, gorilla mothers are actively swinging around hours after giving birth. Babies are born with an instinctive grasp behavior which allows them to hold on to mom's chest as she moves around, although she made sure to hold onto him as well.
Gavin Makinsie, who was there with his grandfather to see the gorillas was excited about what he saw.
"And all the crazy ones were climbing everywhere," said Makinsie.
"We are always thrilled to announce new additions, but are even more excited to showcase the continuation of our mission of caring for animals and conserving the natural world through new births," said Shayla Moriarty, Toledo Zoo's director of communication. "Helping to maintain insurance populations of endangered species is not only a testament to our outstanding animal care staff, but also to our Species Survival Plan partnerships and the support of our members and visitors. We are excited to watch this little gorilla grow and for future generations to appreciate these amazing creatures."
There is also a baby orangutan and snow leopard you can visit at the zoo. If you get the chance, now is a great time since it's the off-season.