This is one of the most heartwarming animal videos you will ever see. A mama gorilla gave birth at the National Zoo and cradled her newborn in her arms, covering him with kisses.
It turns out humans and primates have the same reaction of becoming overwhelmed with love when giving birth to a baby. In an incredible video from Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian National Zoo, an endangered western lowland gorilla named Calaya became a first-time mom and her reaction upon her baby’s delivery was so touchingly beautiful. She was so taken with her new baby boy that she couldn’t help but cradle the little one in her arms and raise him up to her face to give him plenty of adoring kisses. The incredible video shows Calaya holding onto her son that the zoo named Moke, which means “junior” or “little one” in the language Lingala, according to zoo staff. The little baby is so tiny in Calaya’s huge hands, and she is so motherly in handling him just as any human mom would.
Staff biologists can be heard saying “good girl, good girl” to Calaya in emotional voices as they allowed her to give birth unassisted. Naturally staffers are thrilled because this is the first gorilla born at the zoo in nine years. In a statement they noted Moke entered the work at 6.25pm EST on April 15. The new mom has already taken to nursing her son and that they are “optimistic he will thrive,” the zoo announced on their Facebook page along with more incredible videos of Calaya cradling and loving her newborn.
In order to let mother and son bond in peace, the zoo’s Great Ape House is closed to the public for the next few days. 15-year-old Calaya and 26-year-old father Baraka bred in the summer of 2017 after a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan and “Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya,”said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates at the Smithsonian. “The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” she added.
While the new dad is taking things in stride, the other gorillas in the exhibit are thrilled to have a new addition. According to the zoo’s latest FB update, “Calaya is providing excellent care to Moke and has been nursing and cradling him closely. The other gorillas in the troop are curious about the new arrival! While Baraka has been ‘laid-back’ toward his offspring, Mandara and Kibibi have shown lots of interest in Moke. Calaya has allowed them to approach and get a close look at him while he nurses and sleeps.” Sounds like he already has a loving family unit!