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Gorilla Lovingly Cradles Her Newborn Baby

The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. has a new addition, and he is adorable.

Moke, a western lowland gorilla, was born on April 15. The tiny newborn is doing well and thriving, thanks to keepers, staff, and especially his mother, Calaya.

The name Moke means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language, a Bantu language that is spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

While he fits this description for the moment, he’ll hopefully grow to be big and strong.

Calaya is a first-time mom and trying her best to make sure he grows up healthy and happy.

“The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” says Meredith Bastian, curator of primates at the zoo.

Because of human encroachment, disease, and poaching, western lowland gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

It was important that Calaya’s birth was successful.

To help the process, a team that cares for the primates helped prepare Calaya for the delivery.

“The primate team’s goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother.

Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya,” Meredith explained.

Calaya learned from watching the other gorilla mothers and can now nurse and cuddle because she was taught with a tiny stuffed “baby.”

All of their hard work was worth it when after Moke was born, Calaye took easily to cuddling, nursing, and even kissing her adorable newborn.

Moke’s birth is a success for gorillas and for the conservation of endangered species as a whole.

Watch Calaya with Moke in the adorable video below. Please like and share!

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