Zoo’s baby gorilla in the spotlight

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The newest addition to the Buffalo Zoo was such a big deal, the announcement required billboards.

“I keep getting texts and messages, like, ‘we gotta come to the zoo, we saw the billboard with the baby,'” one of the keepers, Emily Detine, told News 4. “So it’s a really exciting time for us.”

Detine is helping to take care of the new delivery from afar.

“The baby was born on July 10th and 11:04 pm, and it was a really fast birth which was awesome for Sydney,” she said.

Sydney is the baby’s mother, and Koaga is the father. They, along with three other gorillas, they make up the zoo’s gorilla troop. Emily and the other keepers were there for the big moment.

“The birth went really smooth, she’s a terrific mom, the baby was nursing within a half hour,” she said.

The keepers are prepared to hand rear the baby if they have to, but Sydney is very protective of her offspring so far. That means Emily and the keepers have to keep a safe distance. They still don’t even know it’s gender.

“That is very tricky, especially because she is supposed to hold the baby at all times, and has held the baby at all times. So we haven’t been able to see to get a good look to see if it’s a boy or a girl. But we’re happy with either. The baby’s doing really well.”

If you want to see Sydney holding her baby the best time to come to the zoo is either at noon or 2:15, during feeding times. That’s when one of the keepers climbs up on the canopy and throws the food down to the troop.

“No protein, it’s all produce,” Emily said. People are usually surprised to hear gorillas eat mainly vegetables, even in the wild. “Carrots, sweet potato, a bunch of greens. That kind of stuff,” Emily said.

Sydney usually eats in the corner of the exhibit next to the windows, while never letting go of her little one. She’s clearly proud of her baby, and the keepers are just as proud of her.

“I keep saying it, but she’s just such a great mom,” Emily said. “When you see her come out and feed, she’ll show you the baby right away. It’s just exciting to have another gorilla at the zoo.”


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