Home Discover & learn Gorilla baby on the way

New birth is essential to a gorilla group. A birth promotes the wellbeing of the group; the young add dynamism, and young gorilla females can learn vital parenting skills through observation. Because Bao Bao lived alone for a long time, he had to get used to living with six females. Apenheul gave Bao Bao time to settle into his role as a stud male and silverback. It took some time for the first mating to take place. The gorilla females were very clear about what they wanted, but Bao Bao did not take the bait immediately. The gorilla keepers knew that this could take time, and they were right. Female gorilla Gyasi (18 years old) is pregnant. She previously brought a daughter, Tayari, into the world. Tayari was moved to Taipei Zoo in November 2019. Interestingly, Tayari is about to give birth to her first young.

Gyasi is doing well, despite several pregnancy ailments at the beginning of the pregnancy. Daniëlle, a gorilla keeper and pregnant herself, picked up on one of those ailments immediately. “ I had very little appetite in the morning at the start of my pregnancy, and I recognised the same thing with Gyasi,” says Daniëlle. She ate almost nothing in the morning.” The zookeepers at Apenheul are not sure exactly how many weeks pregnant Gyasi is. Gorillas do not get ultrasounds, and their bellies do not grow much during pregnancy. Gorillas naturally have a rounded belly, because they have a longer intestinal system than humans. As a result, determining the date on which Gyasi will give birth is guesswork. “ I think she will give birth in late January or early February,” says Daniëlle. That would be nice, as I am due myself around then.”

In 2021, Apenheul will be organising various activities to celebrate its 50th anniversary. It is extraordinary that we can celebrate this special birth in such a festive year.

Bao Bao lived alone for a long time, and his genes had not yet been used in the international breeding programme, so Apenheul is delighted that a gorilla baby is on the way!