Pets and their People: Baby Kigali
carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Thu Oct 4 22:18:04 EDT 2001
September 30, 2001, Sunday
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 40,41
HEADLINE: PETS AND THEIR PEOPLE: NATURAL BORN GORILLA..;
THE BABY APE WHO AMAZED THE WORLD
BYLINE: Charlotte Seligman
These heart-warming pictures of new-born gorilla Kigali snuggling up
with his natural mother Moseka have amazed animal experts. For Kigali
was born in IN CAPTIVITY - an incredibly rare occurrence for gorillas
in itself. But for the mother to display such heart-warming affection
by kissing and cuddling her little bundle is almost unheard of.
The amazing scenes were captured on video by Jean Vermeer, boss of
Monkey Valley in Romagne, France.
He said: "Great primates rarely reproduce in captivity. Those that do
have no idea how to care for their babies and often reject them.
Moseka's motherly love is even more exceptional because she was
herself rejected by her mother."
Seventeen-year-old Moseka gave birth without any help from zoo
keepers and even managed to breast-feed her baby - also rarely
achieved by any captive gorilla because they have not needed to
provide for themselves.
Jean said: "Gorillas' reproduction relies on so many psychological
factors and if a female is not happy in her environment or if she
does not like the domineering male of the group, she will never have
Jean installed a video camera in Moseka's enclosure so he could
monitor the amazing birth and give help if needed.
He said: "Suddenly, I saw Moseka move a bit on her straw bed and set
the nest. Fifty-six minutes later Kigali appeared. Moseka studied him
carefully. She was surprised at first but then seemed to know exactly
what she was doing and started to breast-feed."
Today six months on, Moseka and Kigali have re-joined their group of
Moseka has introduced her baby to its father Yaounde, who expressed
his satisfaction through shouts of pleasure - and then got on with
the serious business of peeling a banana.
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