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New Gorilla at the Brookfield Zoo

By Margaret Lyons in Miscellaneous on Sep 3, 2004 6:19PM

Koola and baby; Photo: Chicago TribuneMaybe we’re just squeamish, but the idea of watching a gorilla give birth is totally horrifying to us. Keeping our gorilla-cooch count at 0, while not explicitly a life goal, isn’t something we’re that eager to change. Looks like we wouldn’t have had too much fun at the Brookfield Zoo on Wednesday, where 9-year-old Koola gave birth in front of about 100 eager on-lookers. Koola’s caretakers wanted to keep her routine as normal as possible to avoid adding extra stress to the birth, which is why they kept the gorilla area open to the public. Still, thanks but no thanks.

The baby girl, still unnamed, is the first child for Koola and the second for her 36-year-old love muffin Ramar. Ramar was born in the wild, and Koola is first-generation captivity, so the baby is considered very special in zoo circles. Because they no longer capture wild gorillas, all new additions to North American zoos are bred in captivity; since the population is only about 350, zoo keepers have to be careful to avoid inbreeding. Oooh, steamy 'rilla on 'rilla action.

It turns out that the Brookfield Zoo is a total love nest for aging, “reluctant male” gorillas. "We have a nice, stable mix of older, experienced females and younger females...The atmosphere is very relaxed here, which seems to calm down anxious, high-strung males," Melinda-Pruett Jones, Brookfield's primate curator, told the Trib. Aw, sounds like our house.

OK, time for another Gmail contest: name the baby gorilla. Best name gets a Gmail invite.