UPDATE MARCH 6: The team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom says the baby gorilla is a girl and her name is Lilly — in honor of the late Alecia Lilly, Ph.D., who was senior scientist and vice president of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
What better way to begin a week than with a stunning first image of the newest member of the family at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – a critically endangered western lowland gorilla. And the best part is that you can see the newborn gorilla now at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
The newborn gorilla (photographed by Gene Duncan) is doing well and has already become an integral part of the gorilla family group that includes first-time mother, Kashata, father Gino and two other females. Since Kashata has been holding the baby close to her body, animal keepers have yet to determine the baby’s gender.
The new baby is the third gorilla born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also participates in AZA Species Survival Plans for several other animals, including elephants, cotton-top tamarins and okapi.
The first gorilla birth occurred in 1997 before Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened, and the second baby arrived in 1999.