MIAMI, Fla. - Zookeepers arriving to work on Father's Day at ZooMiami found a surprise: a newborn Western Lowland Gorilla next to its mother.
The zoo is calling it "the most significant birth of the year.'' The infant is the first gorilla to be born in Florida this year.
Kumbuka, a 14-year-old lowland gorilla, gave birth to the healthy baby whose sex and weight have yet to be determined.
"Because the mother is so protective, we don't want to disturb the first critical hours of bonding and nursing between her and her newborn," the zoo said in a statement, along with a release of photos of mother and baby.
The infant has been observed nursing and appears healthy, the zoo said. Soon, the veterinary staff can do the neonatal exam which is dependent on the staff's ability to safely separate mother and infant for the short time necessary to perform the procedure.
Kumbuka first arrived at Zoo Miami in 2007 from Pittsburgh Zoo in hopes of breeding. This is her second infant; she lost her first baby.
This new baby is currently on exhibit with the rest of the gorilla family, including 32-year-old J.J. the father, who was born in 1979 and has sired four offspring.
Zoo visitors can see the baby gorilla birth through the zoo's Adopt an Animal program.
Mother and baby are currently on exhibit.