30/03/2016

New name for our baby gorilla as she emerges outside for first time

Our baby gorilla has emerged outside for the first time with her keeper, tucked inside a sling.

She made her debut outing on the island enclosure to start the delicate process of introducing her to the sights and smells of the outdoors.

Her venture outside comes just in time for the reveal of her name ‘Afia’ – a firm favourite from over 9,000 public votes received, which means ‘Friday born child’ in Ghanaian.

The seven week old Western lowland gorilla, who has been cared for round-the-clock by a team of keepers, is said to be developing well.

Lynsey Bugg, our curator of mammals, and one of the team members looking after the baby, said: “We’re thrilled to now be able to refer to her by name and would like to thank the public for helping us choose. Afia was certainly a favourite among my team, and the Zoo as a whole, and it marks a key milestone in her development.

“Her introduction to the outdoors proves she is becoming stronger and more confident. She spent a lot of time looking around and taking in her surroundings while snuggled in the sling, and it is this type of stimulation that is imperative to her development.”

Afia’s future trips outdoors will remain short, dependent on weather, and we are therefore unable to guarantee when they will take place.

Lynsey added: “We hope to take her outside on a more regular basis as she physically develops, learning all areas of the enclosure will become more important

Afia was delivered by emergency caesarean section in February - a procedure that has rarely been carried out on gorillas.

Since her birth, her mother Kera has suffered with complications, including servere anaemia and, at times, has been critically ill. Our vets say she is continuing to recover well, is eating and drinking regularly, and they are hopeful she will make a smooth recovery.

It is not yet known whether she will be accepted by her mother; however our other female gorilla, Romina, is showing strong maternal signs towards her. Keepers are now exploring the possibility of Romina fostering the infant in the future.

Please note that, while the gorilla house is open as normal, Afia is not on show to the public.

 

The gorilla house is kindly sponsored by

 

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Now’s your last chance to visit before the Zoo’s last day 03.09.22