Critically endangered newborn gorilla has died at New Orleans zoo

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Six days after it was born at New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo, a critically endangered infant gorilla has passed away.

The gorilla was born on Sept. 4, marking the first time a gorilla was born at the Audubon Zoo in 24 years.

Zoo staff noticed that the infant gorilla appeared lethargic and weak on the evening of Sept. 9. Workers transferred the infant to an on-site veterinarian, who was unable to revive it.

“There are many risks involved with gorilla births and unfortunately, it is not unusual for a first-time gorilla mom to lose an offspring,” said Audubon’s senior veterinarian Dr. Robert MacLean. “Our veterinary team worked with outside medical experts on-site including Species Survival Plan Gorilla Birth Management Team, OB-Gyns and neonatologist to help us prepare and manage this birth.”

The cause of death remains undetermined at this time. Initial reports indicate a lack of lactation on the part of the gorilla’s mother, 13-year-old Tumani.

“We are heartbroken over the loss,” Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman said. “This has been a work in progress for many years, from the introduction of the new troop members to the announcement of the birth, everyone involved has worked tirelessly. I am incredibly proud of our team. We will continue to contribute to the conservation of this amazing species.”