Baby Gorilla Kipenzi Can't Get Enough of Mom

More on PawNation: gorilla, kipenzi, kriba, Taponga Zoo, western lowland guerrillas

Kipenzi with mom, Kriba. Getty

Welcome to the world, Kipenzi!

Born at Sydney Australia's Taronga Zoo 10 days ago, the adorable 4.5-pound baby gorilla is already making news around the world. According to the Taronga Zoo, Kipenzi, which means "precious one" in Swahili, is the result of an international breeding program designed to help ensure the survival of the critically endangered western lowland gorillas, whose numbers are dwindling in Africa due to poaching and the destruction of their habitat by mining and logging.

Rick Stevens / AFP / Getty Images

Kipenzi was born to experienced parents, which is advantageous to the baby as well as the program as a whole, explains Taronga Zoo's Primate Keeper, Lisa Ridley. Mother Kriba has given birth five times, and father Kibabu has not only sired multiple offspring but is the leader of the gorilla group at the zoo. The pair are not only taking care of the newborn but also helping teach younger gorillas how to be good parents.

"Like humans, much maternal behavior is learned, so one of the great values of our well-balanced group is the opportunities young females have to watch experienced mothers like Kriba raising her baby. ... Young males also have a great chance to learn to be excellent silverbacks," says Ridley, "by watching how Kibabu makes sure the environment is safe and calm for the new arrival."

Ridley also notes that "Kriba's 6-year-old offspring, Kimya, sister to the newborn, is especially interested and stays close to Mum and baby, watching their every move. This is an excellent life lesson for Kimya, since in the future she will also play a role in the breeding program, and who better to learn from than your mother?"

Female western lowland gorillas grow to be around 5 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds.

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