Dina Rudick / Globe Staff
Kiki holds her baby in this photograph taken by the Globe one day after her birth on Nov. 3.
It’s a girl!
More than a month after the Franklin Park Zoo’s famous gorilla, Kiki, gave birth to her third baby, staffers were finally able to get their hands on the newborn and give her a medical exam.
Determining the gender of a baby gorilla requires a close examination, said John Linehan, president of Zoo New England, which oversees the Franklin Park and Stoneham zoos.
Getting close to the baby was no easy feat. “Kiki literally didn’t put the baby down since she was born,'' he said.
So the staff had to anesthetize Kiki to get the baby, which went smoothly, according to Linehan.
Kiki, who is used to routine medical procedures, allowed staffers to inject her using a needle, instead of being shot with dart, he said.
Although the baby wasn’t happy to be separated from her mother, the exam showed the she is in good health, said Linehan.
“There was a great joy in being able to hold a baby gorilla,” he said.
After about 2.5 hours, Kiki woke up from the anesthesia and mother and baby were reunited.
Kiki held on tight to her baby once more, allowing little contact with the other gorillas until she feels comfortable, according to Linehan.
The baby’s older siblings, Kira and Kimani, are curious about the new baby, he said. They interact with the infant “to the extent that Kiki allows it,” said Linehan.
Eventually, the older siblings will carry Kiki and begin to learn all of their “maternal behaviors short of nursing,” he said, adding that it’s similar to how young human girls interact with dolls.
The baby doesn’t have a name yet, said Linehan but a contest will start Dec. 17 to find one that fits her.
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