Pets and Vets: Veterinarians at San Diego Zoo Safari Park perform C-section on gorilla


Pets and Vets: Veterinarians at San Diego Zoo Safari Park perform C-section on gorilla

Imani, 18-year-old gorilla mother, recovering after rare procedure.
May 01, 2014
By staff

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.

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 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.

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.