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Baby gorilla born at San Diego Zoo through rare C-section

18-year-old Imani gave birth to a baby gorilla girl through a rare C-section at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, March, 13, 2014. (Courtesy of San Diego Zoo Safari Park)

March 14, 2014 11:03:41 AM PDT
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomes a new baby gorilla girl to the family after staff delivered her through a Cesarean section, a procedure rarely used on gorillas.

The newborn is the first baby for 18-year-old gorilla Imani and the 17th gorilla born at the park. Although carried to full-term, the baby suffers from complications likely related to a tough labor.

It is under intensive care, receiving oxygen and supplemental fluids at the hospital.

Imani went into labor Thursday morning, but showed no signs of progress by the evening. Staff transported her to Safari Park veterinary hospital for the emergency C-section.

"In retrospect the C-section was the right decision," said Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer."

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park now has eight gorillas - four females and four males.