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San Diego Zoo baby gorilla introduced to mom for the first time

San Diego Zoo Safari Park gorilla Imani spends time with her daughter for the first time on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. (San Diego Zoo Safari Park)

March 25, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A baby gorilla born via an emergency cesarean section at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park was introduced to its mother for the first time on Tuesday.

Staff placed the 12-day-old gorilla on a pile of hay and let its mother Imani meet her daughter. Imani smelled the baby, picked her up and began carrying her around.

After some time, another male gorilla Frank was also introduced to the baby. Imani served as Frank's surrogate mother after he was born in 2008.

"About three hours in, she began nursing the baby," said Andrew Stallard, animal care supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "After about a five-minute bout, the baby fell asleep, which is exactly what we were looking for, so we were really excited!"

Staff is expected to continue to monitor the infant to ensure she is getting the proper nutrition.

The baby gorilla was born on March 13 through a rare cesarean section. It caught pneumonia early on and was undergoing treatment.

It is one of eight gorillas that call the San Diego Zoo Safari Park its home.