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NY Post
New York Post
17 Feb 2024


NextImg:Fort Worth Zoo welcomes baby gorilla born via ‘historic’ emergency C-section

She’s ape-solutely adorable.

The Fort Worth Zoo celebrated the historic birth of a baby gorilla last month — made even more emotional after the endangered newborn and mother survived an arduous and life-threatening delivery.

Baby Jameela was born between four to five weeks early Jan. 5 via an “emergency cesarean,” the first the zoo had ever conducted, staff announced in a Valentine’s Day statement.

Mama Sekani was expected to deliver her fourth baby in mid-February, plans that quickly changed when she was seen sulking around her enclosure and holding her head in her hands in the days leading up to the crisis operation.

Jameela, a baby gorilla, was born on Jan. 5 at the Fort Worth Zoo after a historic C-section. Fortworth Zoo

The 33-year-old mother was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a serious blood pressure condition that can occur during pregnancy in both humans and primates, and rushed into surgery.

Because of the seriousness of her condition and the prematurity of her baby, medical professionals who typically operated on humans were brought in for the historic delivery.

“Taking part in delivering Sekani’s infant via cesarean section was one of the highlights of my entire career as an OB-GYN,” said Dr. Jamie Erwin, who has worked as a consultant for the zoo since 2016

“It is an honor and privilege to assist with care for this endangered species and to share my expertise with the veterinary staff at the Fort Worth Zoo. I was amazed at how Sekani’s anatomy matched that of my human patients.” 

Jameela’s life hung in the balance even after her birth — she was immediately put on critical respiratory support, captured by heartbreaking images of the tiny creature attached to breathing tubes.

Because of the seriousness of the mother gorilla’s condition and the prematurity of the baby, medical professionals who typically operated on humans were brought in for the historic delivery. Fortworth Zoo
After the birth, Jameela’s mother showed little interest in her baby, likely because she didn’t experience the necessary hormonal cues that come during natural and full-term birth. Fortworth Zoo

Both she and her mother were put on round-the-clock care until they both made full recoveries.

The staff named the female baby Jameela, which means “beautiful” in Swahili.

Sekani, however, showed little interest in her newborn, likely because she didn’t experience the necessary hormonal cues that come during natural and full-term birth, the zoo theorized.

They are hoping to pair Jameela with Gracie, a 24-year-old gorilla with babies of her own who staff hopes could become a surrogate mother to the newborn.

The zoo is hoping to pair Jameela with Gracie, a 24-year-old gorilla with babies of her own who staff hopes could become a surrogate mother to the newborn. Fortworth Zoo
The staff named the female baby Jameela, which means “beautiful” in Swahili. Fortworth Zoo

Despite the hiccup with Jameela and Sekani’s relationship, the Fort Worth Zoo is celebrating the birth as a historic win for the gorilla population, which are classified as an endangered species.

Jameela’s birth marks the third gorilla delivery in the zoo’s 115-year history — but the first to be born via C-section.

“Zoo experts are optimistic that Jameela will ultimately be an integrated member of the troop of seven (eight including her),” staff said in the release.

Jameela is the second threatened species to be born at the Fort Worth Zoo in recent months.

Jameela’s birth marks the third gorilla delivery in the zoo’s 115-year history — but the first to be born via C-section. Fortworth Zoo
Jameela’s life hung in the balance even after her birth — she was immediately put on critical respiratory support, captured by heartbreaking images of the tiny creature attached to breathing tubes. Fortworth Zoo

Baby Moja was welcomed in October, marking the first African lion cub birth in nine years.

African lions are considered a vulnerable population, so the infant’s birth is looked upon as a milestone in the conservation of the endangered mammals and an advancement in diversifying the nation’s African lion bloodline.