A male gorilla named Sully at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio has defied expectations by giving birth to a healthy baby gorilla.
The astonishing discovery left zookeepers astonished, as Sully had been believed to be male for four years until the unexpected arrival of the infant. The conservation team is hailing this as a groundbreaking moment for the critically endangered species.
Zookeepers were taken aback by the surprise delivery, as Sully had been identified as male since birth. “It’s hard to tell the sex of younger gorillas until about eight years old, as males and females are about the same size and lack prominent sex organs,” said one of the zoo’s veterinarians. The ambiguity led to the mix-up and the unforeseen arrival of the baby gorilla.
Despite the initial shock, the zoo staff expressed their joy at the addition of another birth for this critically endangered species. “We’re thrilled by the arrival of this baby gorilla,” the zoo officials announced. “As the 34th gorilla born at our zoo since 1956, when we welcomed the first baby gorilla in the world, she’s an important part of our work to conserve these magnificent animals.”
The infant appears to be in good health, and the first-time mother, Sully, is taking excellent care of her. The zoo’s animal care team is allowing the mother and baby time to bond with each other and the rest of the troop before conducting a wellness examination. They will also conduct a DNA test to determine the father of the baby gorilla.
Gorillas, especially males, don’t typically show outward signs of pregnancy, making it difficult to predict such occurrences. This remarkable event highlights the importance of constant monitoring and care for these endangered animals.
Western lowland gorillas like Sully and her offspring can live into their 50s under human care, providing valuable opportunities for research and conservation efforts. The birth of this baby gorilla not only adds to the zoo’s legacy but also contributes significantly to the ongoing efforts to protect and preserve these magnificent creatures in the wild.