Gorilla gives birth with help from doctors who treat people

Philadelphia doctors help deliver baby gorilla at Philly Zoo

This is the third offspring for 32-year-old father Motuba.

The zoo called in the help of doctors who normally treat humans, from an OB-GYN to surgeons and anesthesiologists from local hospitals and institutions to assist in the hard birthing process for the newborn's mom, 17-year-old Kira.

"Usually gorilla deliveries are quick and appear to be pretty problem free", Baker said.

Ayana, a Western lowland gorilla, was born in the early hours of April 22 to mother Touni and silverback gorilla father Jock.

After having gone into labour on Thursday, zoo staff sought assistance when it became clear the Kira was having difficulty.

A gorilla who experienced a labour so tricky human maternity doctors were called to help has given birth to a healthy baby.

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'It was an anxious and dramatic day at the zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one, ' said Andy Baker, the zoo's chief operating officer.

Among the team were a gynaecologist, several surgeons and anaesthesiologists from hospitals affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University, as well as University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Officials say it was the first assisted vaginal delivery for a gorilla that the zoo is aware of since 2000.

Western lowland gorillas, which inhabit African forests, are listed as a critically endangered species.

While mom Kira was recovering from anesthesia, vet staff held and fed the newborn through the night.

Kira was reunited with the baby by Saturday morning and has been continuously cradling and nursing him.

The zoo plans to again consult with the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to choose a name for the baby primate.

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