Adorable critically-endangered gorilla born at the US National Zoo

This darling western lowland gorilla was born over the weekend at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. These gorillas are critically endangered so the birth of this baby is especially wonderful. The proud parents are Calaya, 20, and Baraka, 31. Caretakers don't want to interfere with the parental bonding so they still don't know the gender of the infant and hence haven't named it yet.

"We are overjoyed to welcome a new infant to our western lowland gorilla troop," said primates curator Becky Malinsky. "Calaya is an experienced mother, and I have every confidence she will take excellent care of this baby, as she did with her first offspring, Moke. Since his birth in 2018, it's been wonderful seeing her nurturing and playful side come out. I encourage people to visit our gorilla family and be inspired to help save this critically endangered species in the wild." 

From the National Zoo:

Gorillas live in groups, called troops, that are typically composed of a silverback male, one or more blackback males, several adult females and their infant and juvenile offspring. The Zoo's troop is composed of Calaya, Baraka, Moke and the new infant, as well as a 41-year-old female named Mandara and her 14-year-old daughter, Kibibi.

Native to Africa, western lowland gorillas live in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the western lowland gorilla as critically endangered due to habitat loss, disease and poaching. Scientists estimate that in the past 20 to 25 years, the number of wild western lowland gorillas has decreased by 60%.