Gorilla Baby Expected In Fall


Just in time for Mother’s Day, Como Zoo is excited to announce the pregnancy of Alice, a Western Lowland Gorilla. Now in her second trimester, the expectant mother’s birth window has been determined to be between early September to mid-October. The gestation period for gorillas is about 36 weeks.

The pregnancy is the second for 14-year-old Alice. In 2014, despite great efforts, Alice’s infant died just days old. “First-time gorilla mothers are more likely to experience challenges related to birth and child-rearing” said John Dee, curator at Como Zoo. “Alice has been able to watch and learn from Dara over the past two years. We believe this experience is going to be very beneficial to her this fall, and we are cautiously optimistic moving forward. Alice is in good health, and her pregnancy appears to be progressing well.”

Dara is another female Western Lowland Gorilla at Como Zoo who also gave birth in 2014 and has been an excellent, nurturing mother to her baby, Arlene.

Longtime Como Zoo denizen Schroeder, who is considered genetically valuable to conservationists, will again be the father. This will also be the third gorilla birth in Como’s 57 year history of caring for gorillas.

At birth, baby gorillas weigh between 4 and 5 pounds. It is important for mom and baby to bond shortly after birth and for the baby to begin nursing. The mortality rate for infant gorillas in the first several months is 40 percent.

Alice came to Como Zoo in 2013 as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). The Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) serves 52 zoos across the United States to help guide the management of the gorilla population. Although their primary role is in population management, the SSP is ultimately interested in the health and well-being of all gorillas, including those living outside accredited zoos and in the wild. Western lowland gorillas are highly endangered due to loss of habitat, poaching, and disease.

Gorilla Forest at Como Zoo is home to eight gorillas: three bachelor males—Jabir, Samson, and Virgil (all 18 years-old), and a family group consisting of Schroeder (31), Alice, another female named, Nne (pronounced E-nee who is 29), Dara (13), and Arlene (2).