WASHINGTON - A new baby gorilla was born over the weekend at the National Zoo. The zoo says western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a baby boy at 6:25 p.m. on Sunday.
Zoo officials say the little guy is named Moke (pronounced Mo-key), which means “junior” or “little one” in Lingala (a Bantu language spoken in Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.)
The zoo has released a sweet video showing new mom 15-year-old Calaya, kissing and lovingly holding her baby.
Just like human moms going to maternity class, the Zoo helped Calaya learn the skills she would need to be a good mom. They showed her photos of other gorillas and their babies and even introduced her to a stuffed gorilla baby for practice.
The plush toy even had recorder inside that plays baby gorilla vocalizations. Zookeepers asked Calaya to touch and kiss the plush baby, hold it gently and present her chest so it can nurse.
Calaya came to the National Zoo from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle (where she was born), as part of a breeding program in 2015.
This is the first time in nine years that there has been a male western lowland gorilla born at the National Zoo.