A baby gorilla has been welcomed to the world at Bristol Zoo – after being delivered by RARE Caesarean section.
The tiny Western lowland gorilla was born early, weighing 2lbs 10oz after her mother was believed to be suffering from the early stages of potentially life-threatening pre-eclampsia.
It needed help from vets before it was able to breathe independently, but it is now being cared for around the clock by a team of experience keepers.
The gorilla’s birth is the first time a primate has been born by caesarean at the zoo – and only a handful of births have been carried out using the procedure worldwide.
Gynaecologist Professor David Cahill was responsible for the birth – but it was the first time he had performed the procedure on a gorilla after delivered hundreds of human babies.
He said: ‘Along with having my own children, this is probably one of the biggest achievements of my life and something I will certainly never forget.’
Bristol Zoo has described the operation as ‘very challenging’ but said that the tiny primate was getting strong each day.
Describing the need for a C-section delivery, senior curator of animals John Partridge said: ‘The birth of any gorilla is a rare and exciting event; but the birth of a baby gorilla by caesarean section is even more unusual.
‘It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly. Kera was becoming quite poorly and we needed to act fast in order to give the best possible treatment to mother and baby, and to avoid the possibility of losing the baby.’
It isn’t clear when the baby gorilla will go on show at the zoo.