Video: Smithsonian National Zoo welcomes baby western lowland gorilla

Posted at 8:22 AM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 09:22:41-04

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute welcomed a new baby western lowland Gorilla to their zoo on April 15.

The male gorilla named Moke is the first birth in nine years for the zoo. Moke, according to the Smithsonian, means "junior" or "little one" in the Lingala language. 

The zoo shared a beautiful video of Moke shortly after his birth receiving kisses from his mother, 15-year-old Calaya. The "kisses" are actually Calaya cleaning off her baby who had just been born. The video has been shared on social media and shows the mother caring gently for her baby as any new mother would. 

The Smithsonian says that mother and son have been bonding quietly in the zoo’s Great Ape House and staff are optimistic that Moke will thrive.

The western lowland gorilla is native to Africa and lives in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equitorial Guinea, and the Congo. They are considered a critically endangered species according to the Smithsonian.