Well, this is a pretty great way to start the week. The Dublin Zoo welcomed a brand-new baby western lowland gorilla on April 1, and the photos are so sweet.
Kafi, a first-time mom, seems over the moon about her little one. She looks completely content holding her tiny newborn — and pretty proud, too. According to the zoo’s social media accounts, Kafi’s keepers have not yet been able to determine the baby’s sex. Kafi is keeping that baby close, and the humans don’t want to disturb the bonding period.
The newborn appears to be just fine with this arrangement. The baby clings gently to Kafi’s chest, looking oh-so-snuggly. In one pic, the baby gazes lovingly up at its mom, a little smile on its face.
And look how absolutely content the adorable little baby seems to be:
12-year-old Kafi is “doing everything right” with her first baby, according to keeper James Creighton in the Irish Times. The baby’s father, 9-year-old Bangui, is also doing a fine job in his new role.
“Bangui is proving to be an attentive father and at night has been sleeping close to Kafi and the baby,” said Helen Clarke-Bennett, team leader of the African Plains exhibit at the zoo.
But wait! There’s video, too. In a short Irish Times clip, Kafi brings the baby out into the springtime sun to mingle for a bit. Keeper Creighton explains why Kafi likes to carry the baby around with a blanket: Kafi was hand-raised by humans, so the blankie is a familiar comfort object for her.
Kafi and her baby are super-cute, but there’s another reason to celebrate the new arrival. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. Because they live in the dense forests and swampy areas of Central Africa, it’s hard to know how many gorillas remain in the wild. One estimate puts the population at 100,000 gorillas.
The new baby is the 11th to be born in Dublin Zoo’s captive breeding program. Way to go, Kafi!