The Los Angeles Zoo welcomed a brand new resident this weekend, and it’s going to be a big one.
On Sunday, officials with the Griffith Park facility announced its first baby gorilla birth in over two decades.
N’djia, a 25-year-old western lowland gorilla, and her partner Kelly welcomed their “bundle of joy” early Saturday morning, the L.A. Zoo said.
The infant, whose sex is still undetermined, spent its first day bonding with N’djia behind the scenes.
The pair now have the choice to join Kelly, a 32-year-old male silverback gorilla, and the rest of the troop on exhibit, zoo officials said.
Guests may be able to get a glimpse of the mother and baby at the Campo Gorilla Reserve in the coming weeks, the zoo said, but N’djia may opt to continue resting with her new baby privately.
Zoo CEO and Director Denise M. Verret called the birth a step forward for the conservation of western lowland gorillas.
The World Wildlife Fund lists the gorilla subspecies as “critically endangered,” citing poaching and disease. They live in some of the densest and most remote rainforests of Africa, so their exact number is unknown, according to WWF. The gorillas could weigh up to 440 pounds.
“For the first time in over two decades, Angelenos will now have a unique opportunity to watch this gorilla baby grow up at the L.A. Zoo,” Verret said in a statement.
In addition to N’djia and Kelly, the zoo’s Campo Gorilla Reserve has two other residents: Rapunzel, 35, and Evelyn, 43.
Spokesman Carl Myers said the zoo will let the public know as soon the new baby gets a name. Officials encouraged those interested in updates to follow the L.A. Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The 133-acre facility opened its doors in 1966 and houses more than 1,400 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, including 58 endangered species, according to the zoo’s website.