Nneka was born January 10, 2014 to mom Ngozi and dad Charles. At ten months old, she’s still a baby and will continue to grow at a similar rate of a human. Nneka has become quite curious and has started to crawl on her own away from mom, however Ngozi keeps her under a watchful eye at all times.
Nneka takes a keen interest in her surroundings and closely watches the keepers when they are feeding the troop breakfast and dinner. At dinner, she often climbs the mesh which is the outside of her indoor enclosure, giving the keepers the opportunity to feed her some solid foods. Keepers have noted that she has taken quite the liking to tofu, soft-billed gel, and cucumbers. Nneka has also officially started her training program, where she is given small pieces of pear which she loves as well. Although Nneka was introduced to some solid foods around 6 months of age, she will continue breast feeding until she is approximately four years old.
Nneka is Ngozi's second offspring, after Nassir her 5 year old big brother. This sibling pair has grown quite the bond over the last ten months and even though Nassir is only 5 years old, he is the only gorilla in the troop that mom allows to play with Nneka and you will often see him playing and carrying her on his back. Keepers have noted he is extremely gentle with her and the look in his eyes when he is holding Nneka is very precious.
The family dynamic between Charles, Ngozi, Nassir and Nneka, is incredible to watch. Much like human behavior you will often observe Ngozi scold Nassir if he is playing too rough with his baby sister, or if it is time for Nneka to rest. Charles, who has never been observed carrying around any of his infants, will likely play with Nneka as she gets older. As the silverback of the troop he will not help with the child rearing duties, but you will notice him keeping a watchful eye on them as his job is to keep the family safe.
Zoo staff continue to cherish the opportunity they have to observe Nneka’s development and witness the new things she learns daily. Be sure to visit her and the rest of our troop in the African Rainforest Pavilion. Click here
to see updated photos of our baby girl.
January 10, 2014
Our baby gorilla was born in the Night Room in the early hours of January 10, 2014 with all the other gorillas present. The troop does not help her during this time but they also know to leave her alone during birth. Toronto Zoo staff would not assist in the birth unless there was a medical emergency as gorillas are quite capable of birthing without any help. Wondering how we knew Ngozi was pregnant? Well, just like humans we used a pregnancy test and it showed positive! Labour, for a gorilla, lasts as long as it does for a human and babies normally weigh about 1.8 to 2.3 kg (or four to five pounds) at birth.