New DC Residents

I wanted to briefly mention two new residents of DC. I'm not talking about the new administration--I'm referencing two significant births at the National Zoo!

The baby goes for a ride!

Back on Januray 10th, a baby female Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla--isn't that a great Latin name!) was born to mom Mandara and dad Baraka. The baby is the seventh successful gorilla birth for the Zoo since 1991 (Gorillas reproduce slowly because females do not begin reproducing until the age of nine or ten and usually only produce one baby approximately every five years.) According to a zookeeper, the baby just passed another milestone. Just two months old, she already has her first four teeth! Many parents out there may think that this is fast, and while gorilla infants may be smaller than human babies at birth (four to five pounds), they develop roughly twice as fast.

Mandara and baby

The gorilla birth is significant--Western lowland gorillas, which are native to tropical forests of West and Central Africa, are listed as critically endangered, primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation and poaching.

You can see some video of mom and baby here:

On March 12th, a baby Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) was born--only the 2nd anteater to be born here in 120 years! Zoo staff had been closely monitoring mother Maripi for the past six months, performing weekly ultrasounds and other diagnostics. The baby's gender hasn't been determined- partly because they are allowing mother and baby time to bond, and partly because it's been so long since anyone has seen a tiny anteater that no one remembers how to check the sex (ok..I just made up that last line).

The baby’s father, named Dante, has been separated because giant anteater fathers play no part in the rearing of offspring. Dante and Maripi's first offspring, Aurora, was born in July 2007. She now resides in a zoo in France.

Giant anteater habitat spans most of Latin America—from Belize to Argentina. Anteaters use their keen sense of smell to detect termite mounds and anthills and tear them open with strong claws to suck up insects through their elongated jaws. Anteaters also have sticky tongues that can extend up to two feet long and help collect insects—they can eat up to 30,000 ants a day!

The unnamed, mysterious baby.

Stop by and check them's your zoo, and it's free!


Kris said...

The gorilla is sooo cute! Love it!

masonadventures said...

Just curious... How does that zoo compare to the San Diego zoo?

Filatore said...

Well, it's nowhere near as big as San Diego. And since DC has a different climate (and especially cold winters), some of the animals are quite different. Plus, like many other things in DC, it's free!

All in all, I'd definately say SD is bigger and better and has more of a variety.

Leigh Anne Nottingham said...

But, That's nice.