Endangered gorilla gives birth to smiling baby after doctors helped difficult labour

Andy Wells

This is the gorgeous smile that a baby gorilla gave doctors after they helped his mother through a particularly difficult labour.

Keepers at Philadelphia Zoo in the US noticed that 17-year-old Kira had gone into labour on Thursday last week but grew concerned when the typically quick birth had not happened by Friday.

Kira seemed unwell so the zoo brought in a team of vets and doctors – who are more used to dealing with human patients – on board to help out.

Doctors and surgeons were called in to help Kira through her difficult labour (AP/Philadelphia Zoo)
Kira has been nursing her new baby since giving birth last week (AP/Philadelphia Zoo)

Among the team were a gynaecologist, several surgeons and anaesthesiologists from hospitals affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University, as well as University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

With experts now in place, it took them 90 minutes to get Kira through her labour – resulting in the birth of a beautiful male baby, using forceps and an episiotomy, a procedure to enlarge the birth opening.

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Andy Baker, the zoo’s chief operating officer, said after the delivery: “It was an anxious and dramatic day at the zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one.”

Kira, a western lowland gorilla, was reunited with her baby on Saturday morning and has been continuously cradling and nursing him ever since.

Top pic: AP/Philadelphia Zoo

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