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Calgary Zoo gorilla baby dies during birth

The Calgary Zoo is mourning the loss of an infant gorilla that died during the delivery early Monday.

According to the Calgary Zoo, Yewande, a western lowland gorilla gave birth to a male gorilla.

The gorilla didn’t survive the birthing process, they said. Calculations on the typical gestation, based on the breeding dates, suggest the infant gorilla may have been premature, officials from the Calgary Zoo said.

“Our Animal Care and Veterinary teams did everything possible to prepare Yewande and the troop for a successful birth, and we are saddened by the outcome,” said Jamie Dorgan Director of Animal Care, Health & Welfare at the Calgary Zoo.

“We are focused on supporting the troop, especially Yewande, and the Animal Care staff are focused on caring for the gorilla troop daily, in every way possible as they grieve this loss in the days and weeks to come.”

Yewande was born in 2008 at the Calgary Zoo. There was a recommendation to breed her with 22-year-old silverback Jasiri as a part of the survival species plan for western lowland gorillas.

While the Calgary Zoo team was optimistic for a successful birth, they said first-time gorilla moms and dads don’t have a successful first birth.

The last gorilla born at the Calgary Zoo is five-year-old Kimani.

Currently, the rainforest building at the Calgary Zoo is closed to the public due to COVID-19. The outdoor area will be closed to the public for a week to let the gorilla troop heal, Calgary Zoo officials said.