I went to the zoo to see the 10-day-old gorilla. She is being cared for in the zoo nursery because her first-time mother--also hand raised--did not nurse her for 48 hours. The baby had lost weight, so the zoo keepers made the decision to bottle feed her. The mother was holding and cuddling the baby but did not put her to breast. Each day the baby is put into an adjacent area with open but meshed windows so that the mother can see and smell her. When she is stronger, the zoo staff hope to reunite them. Another gorilla--a two-time mother--is pregnant and due in two weeks. It is hoped that her example will encourage the new mother to bond with and care for her little one. I took a picture of the little gorilla in the nursery but there was too much reflection from the window--even without the flash.
The zoo is full of babies this time of year: goslings everywhere, a new camel, a new cape buffalo and the new bighorn sheep in the photo above. Like most prey animals, the bighorn babies are born ready to run-- and climb. Within an hour they are following mom to the top of the rocks. This one is just a few days old. While the gorillas and other primates require holding, nurturing and bonding to thrive, the baby bighorn really only needs food and a little instruction on predator avoidance.