Animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are caring for a newborn female gorilla after it was delivered by a rare
emergency C-section, according to a zoo release.
The mother, 18-year-old Imani, showed signs of labor in the morning but by evening did not seem to be progressing, so veterinary
staff decided to transport her to the park's Harter Veterinary Medical Center for the C-section.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park keeper Jennifer Minichino carefully holds a new baby gorilla while Jack Allen, DVM, completes his
examination. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK)
The baby, which has not been named yet, was full term, weighed 4.6 pounds and was delivered by a team of San Diego Zoo global
staff and outside consultants, including a veterinary surgeon and human neonatal specialists from University of California-San
Diego Medical Center.
"In retrospect, the C-section was the right decision," says Nadine Lamberski, DVM, associate director of veterinary services
at the safari park. "We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer."
The baby gorilla is being monitored closely since it showed signs of pneumonia, which the team says it acquired just prior
to or immediately after birth. Imani is recovering from surgery in the gorilla bedroom area, according to the release. Once
the baby is well, she will be reunited with her mother. This is Imani's first baby and the 17th to be born at the San Diego
Zoo Safari Park.