“Calculations of gestation length based on breeding dates and measurements taken at ultrasound examinations during pregnancy suggest that this baby may have been premature,” the zoo said in a Friday news release. “We hope to learn more information in the coming weeks.”
The zoo announced in January that 12-year old Yewande, a western lowland gorilla, was pregnant with her first baby.
The zoo said though their team had been “cautiously optimistic” about the birth of the baby, first-time gorilla mothers don’t always have a successful birth.
“Our animal care and veterinary teams did everything possible to prepare Yewande and the troop for a successful birth, and we are saddened by the outcome,” the zoo’s director of animal care, health and welfare Jamie Dorgan said.
The Calgary Zoo’s indoor animal habitats and buildings remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions and the zoo said Friday the outdoor gorilla amphitheatre will be closed for the next week to give the troop time to heal.
“We are focused on supporting the troop, especially Yewande, and the animal care staff are focused on caring for the gorilla troop daily, in every way possible as they grieve this loss in the days and weeks to come,” Dorgan said.
The last gorilla birth at the Calgary Zoo was Kimani, who turned five earlier this month.