Second baby gorilla born at Prague Zoo in 2024 already on view

The Prague Zoo has announced the birth of a critically endangered western lowland gorilla cub. The baby gorilla, whose sex still remains unknown, was born to 30-year-old mother Kijivu and 26-year-old father Kisumu in the early hours of Friday morning. It is already the second gorilla cub born in the zoo this year. A female named Mobi was born at the beginning of January. I discussed the latest news with the zoo’s spokesman Filip Mašek:

“The baby gorilla born tonight is doing just fine. It is with her or his mother Kijivu. Kijivu delivered the gorilla baby 36 minutes after midnight. She is a good mother. She has already had five babies in the past. So it was really without any complications and the baby looks very healthy. The baby started drinking the mother's milk which is the most important thing.”

Photo: Miroslav Bobek,  ZOO Praha

I assume it is too early to ask how big it is or whether it's a male or a female…

“Yes, it is quite early to ask about the sex of baby. We will probably know roughly in about two or three weeks, because we have to run a blood test at the special veterinary clinic as we did with the previous baby that was born in January.”

And as you mentioned, this is already the second gorilla cub born this year - and if I'm not mistaken they share the same father?

“Exactly. The first baby gorilla was born on the 2nd of January. It was born to the female Duni and it was her first baby, so she is way more protective than we expect now from Kijivu, because Kijivu already had a few gorilla cubs in the past.”

And is it true that Kijivu and Duni are also related?

“Exactly, it may sound a bit peculiar for us humans, but we have to realise they are animals and it all goes under the supervision of a European breeding coordinator. So, yes, Kijivu is Duni’s grandmother.”

Photo: Miroslav Bobek,  Prague Zoo

When will the public be able to see the new gorilla cub?

“Right now! You can come to the zoo and see it for yourself. We have just opened the gorilla pavilion, the Dja Reserve. The baby is doing really well and you can see it perfectly. So if you have nothing to do or nothing to plan this weekend, go to the Prague Zoo and you will be able to see for the first time in our history two gorilla cubs at the same time!”

Prague Zoo has been breeding western lowland gorillas since 1963, but the first cub Moja was born only in 2004. So I guess every birth of this critically endangered species is a cause for celebration.

Photo: Miroslav Bobek,  Prague Zoo

“Definitely. It is a critically endangered species. We like to call the gorillas at the Prague zoo the ambassadors of the wild gorillas, because they tell their story to our visitors. Through their stories, we talk about the conservation of this species.

“We also want to get funds and bring the attention of the public towards this huge problem, which is the situation of gorillas in the wild. So yes, of course, every baby will draw more attention and it's great news also for gorillas in the wild.”