Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Little Bundle of Joy Joins the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Family

Last weekend Dylan and I had the pleasure of watching the gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for quite some time. I am still amazed at how human-like these animals are ... and just like humans, sometimes births can be complicated. Thankfully, Imani and her newborn daughter had top-notch care.

Baby Girl Gorilla
Photo taken on Mar. 13, 2014, by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

According to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 18-year-old gorilla, Imani, gave birth to a baby girl yesterday, on March 12th, around 6:30 p.m. at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Imani showed signs of labor yesterday morning and was closely observed by animal care and veterinary staff. By evening, she showed no signs of progress and was transported to the Safari Park veterinary hospital for an emergency c-section. 

The full-term baby, weighing 4.6 pounds, was delivered by a team of San Diego Zoo Global staff and outside consultants, including a veterinary surgeon and human neonatal specialists from UCSD Medical Center. The baby is showing some complications believed to be related to the difficult labor, and she is currently in intensive care receiving oxygen and supplemental fluids at the veterinary hospital. Imani is recovering from surgery in the familiar surroundings of the gorilla bedroom area. 

This video of the delivery brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful moment captured here.

As with humans, the decision to perform an emergency c-section is not something doctors take lightly. However, when the mother or unborn baby appear to be in distress, a c-section can mean the difference between life and death.

“In retrospect the c-section was the right decision,” Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park said of the newborn gorilla. “We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer” Lamberski said. 

1-day-old baby girl gorilla with Safari Park keeper Jennifer Minichino and Dr. Jack Allen
Photo taken on Mar. 13, 2014, by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Like I said, just last Saturday we were watching Imani walk around the gorilla exhibit and eat lunch with the rest of her troop. She was so cute with her round baby belly. One of the gorilla keepers told us that she was due any day. We are sending lots of positive thoughts to Imani and her daughter in hopes of a speedy recovery from surgery and a healthy start for this precious new life.

This is the first baby for Imani and the 17th gorilla to be born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park is home to eight gorillas, including the new baby. There are four females: Vila, Kamilah, Kokamo, and Imani;two young males: Monroe, born at the Safari Park in 2011, and Frank, born at the San Diego Zoo in 2008; and adult male Winston, the silverback leader of the troop.

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