On April 15, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., was blessed with a new addition to its family: a newborn western lowland gorilla named Moke, which means “junior” or “little one” in Lingala.
❤️🦍 We're thrilled to share western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a male at 6:25 p.m. 4/15. His name, Moke, means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language. Keepers report that Calaya has been caring for her infant & are optimistic he will thrive. #GorillaStory pic.twitter.com/qeoJgw57gi
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) April 16, 2018
The short video, posted to Twitter the next day, shows his mother, 15-year-old Calaya, kissing and bonding with her new baby. Of course, it had everyone all emotional.
Welcome Moke!! Congratulations to Calaya!! So precious ❤️🦍
— Jenniffer Tobar (@fefer4u) April 16, 2018
My heart is breaking ❤️ what a lovely delicate moment by such a strong being.
— harlawlass (@harlawlass) April 16, 2018
OMG she love him so muchhhhhhh ❤️😍😘
— Wanda🇵🇷 (@RodriguezfWanda) April 16, 2018
MY EMOTIONS https://t.co/p6Nk7AG1OO
— sometimes a ghost (@nanogeekette) April 17, 2018
If you are interested, and think you can handle it, there is also a longer video showing the moment Moke actually entered the world. Just know it’s not for the faint of heart.
“The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant,” said Meredith Bastian, the zoo’s curator of primates, “not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole.”
“The primate team’s goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother,” she continued. “Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya.”
The zoo says they are “cautiously optimistic” that young Moke will be grow up to be a big strong gorilla. They have temporarily closed the great ape house to allow Calaya time to bond with her infant.
H/T Daily News