Smithsonian’s National Zoo will be welcoming a new member in a few months and aiding a dwindling species along the way, as one of its endangered gorilla’s is pregnant.
The National Zoo announced on March 23 that Calaya, a 20-year-old female western lowland gorilla, is pregnant for the second time and expected to give birth at sometime between late May and early July.
This will be Calaya’s second offspring with the zoo’s 30-year-old male silverback gorilla Baraka. Calaya and Baraka welcomed their first offspring, a male gorilla named Moke, April 15, 2018.
The conception is an important milestone for the species as a whole, as scientific data estimates that the wild western lowland gorilla population has decreased by 60% over the past 20 to 25 years.
“As we prepare to welcome a new western lowland gorilla to our troop, we hope this baby’s impending arrival inspires the public to care about these charismatic, intelligent, and fascinating animals,” Becky Malinsky, the zoo’s primate curator, said in a press release. “Every new birth contributes to the conservation of this species, as they are critically endangered in the wild.”
The National Zoo’s troop—the group of gorillas that live together—consists of Calaya, Baraka, Moke, and a 40-year-old female gorilla named Mandara and her 14-year-old daughter, Kibibi.
The zoo’s keepers are looking forward to seeing Moke his new sibling interact.
Visitors can speak with one of the zoo’s animal keepers every day at 11:30 a.m. to learn more about the gorillas at the Great Ape House.
For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo website.