Philadelphia, PA -- Philadelphia Zoo is pleased to announce that Kira, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla, is pregnant and the baby is expected early summer. Kira’s pregnancy was confirmed through an over-the-counter home pregnancy test, the same test used by humans. This is the first pregnancy for Kira and the third offspring for 32-year -old male Motuba, whose daughter Amani was born at the Zoo just this past August.
“Kira loves babies,” said Kristen Farley-Rambo, who is the primary gorilla keeper. “She’s shown a lot of interest in baby Amani. And she was a great older sister to her younger siblings. We think she’s well-prepared to be a first time mother.”
“Kira is a healthy gorilla, but as with any pregnancy there are risks, and we will continue to monitor her health,” said Dr. Keith Hinshaw, Director of Animal Health. In addition to existing in-house expertise, Philadelphia Zoo has assembled an external team of doctors from area hospitals to collaborate with during the pregnancy. Specialists from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University, Penn Medicine and University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School will consult with the Zoo’s keeper staff and veterinary team to help prepare for a successful birth. While the hope is that a delivery goes smoothly and Kira needs no assistance, the team would be available in the case of medical necessity.
Philadelphia Zoo has six western lowland gorillas: 32-year-old Motuba, 22-year-old Honi, Honi’s 4-month-old daughter Amani, 17-year-old Kira, 17-year-old Louis, and 14-year-old Kuchimba.
Western lowland gorillas are listed as Critically Endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and disease.
There are also long-term threats to gorilla survival from climate change and the continued expansion of palm oil plantations. Forests in African countries like Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the next frontier for palm oil. Guests can help protect gorillas living in these places by asking the makers of their favorite brands to use palm oil that doesn’t destroy gorilla habitat.
Philadelphia Zoo encourages guests to advocate for great apes and empowers them to take action that will save these majestic animals. For more information on the Zoo’s gorillas and how to support the survival of gorillas in the wild, visit www.PhiladelphiaZoo.org.