When the keepers at the San Diego Zoo found out that a gorilla named Imani was pregnant, they were thrilled. It’s always so exciting when a zoo gets to welcome a new life into their family to help preserve a species and inform the public about them.
However, when Imani went into labor, she experienced some serious complications. The veterinarians at the zoo had to rush her into an emergency cesarean section surgery.
The baby was delivered safely, but her fight for life didn’t end there. She had a round of antibiotics ahead of her and had to be hooked up to oxygen and a catheter. Under the close care of the Zoo staff for the first intense days of her life, this little baby was in good hands.
Mama recovered from her surgery very quickly but must have been confused about what just happened to her. Where had her baby gone? Normally, the mama is able to bond with her baby straight away. This wait to meet her little one could potentially jeopardize their mother/baby relationship.
When it was safe for Imani to return to her normal environment, she readjusted pretty much immediately. Now, all that was left was for the baby to get 100% healthy.
When that day finally came 11 days after her birth, there was no lack of excitement and nerves in the air. If this didn’t go well, then the little baby’s life was in serious danger.
The first step was to let mom and baby see each other before letting them interact. Baby was all bundled up and taken to meet her mother.
Through a divider, Imani was able to see her baby for the very first time.
Zookeepers were over the moon about how well the initial meeting went. So, they planned to do a full meeting the very next day.
Placing the baby onto some soft hay in an enclosure, they leave her to meet her mother for the first time.
Imani comes into the enclosure and immediately approaches the tiny baby. She smells her and you can tell that she knows exactly who she is. She picks her up and cradles her like the loving mother that she is. She lets the little one cling to her back as she moves about the enclosure, and it’s so touching to see the two finally reunited after their unexpected parting.
When the little family unit is cleared to carry on with their lives in the outdoor gorilla enclosure, it’s as if that potentially fatal introduction to life never even happened. The little baby is in very good hands, and she’s going to be able to grow up big and strong with her mother feeding and caring for her.
It’s so adorable to see such a tiny little baby with such a sweet face cuddle up with her mother. You can see how much they care for each other by the looks in their eyes. There’s no doubt that these amazing animals have deep feelings for their young.
Thank goodness for the dedicated folks at heh San Diego Zoo who made sure that both mama and baby were to make it out of this scary moment alive.