Antwerp Zoo should welcome a baby gorilla in December if everything goes according to schedule. Mayani, a western lowlands gorilla is pregnant, and that is good news, according to the zoo, which stresses that this specie is in danger of extinction.
Mayani, aged 17 years, arrived in Antwerp last year, when the zoo opened a new space for great apes, dubbed the “Valley of the Great Apes”. The father of the future baby is Matadi, the silverback of the group of gorillas at the zoo.
Matadi and Mayani belong to the western lowlands sub-group of gorillas, whose scientific name is “gorilla gorilla gorilla”. Their numbers in the wild have shrunk by about 60% in the past 25 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Their habitat is the Congo Basin’s equatorial forests, whose isolation makes it difficult to know exactly how many of them are left. However, it is estimated that they now number around 90,000 to 95,000.
These gorillas are classified as “in critical danger of extinction”. Females give birth from the age of 10 years and only once every 4 years. The gestation period is 9 months.