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Birth of baby gorillas is hailed by Fossey fund

Two orphaned gorillas who gave birth to offspring after being successfully reintroduced to the wild give hope to great apes facing extinction, say scientists.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International said that it was important for the survival of all gorillas that Massabi and Koto, who were captured 11 years ago, were able to adapt to life in the Lefini reserve in the Republic of Congo, as revealed by The Independent.

Katie Fawcett, a scientist for DFGFI, said reintroducing gorillas to the wild is often unsuccessful. "When gorillas are rescued they may have seen many members of their family shot and killed, and tend to be both physically and psychologically withdrawn," Dr Fawcett said.

She said that the DFGFI is hoping to replicate the success of the John Aspinall Foundation, who were behind the reintroduction of Massabi and Koto to the reserve, with a mountain gorilla. If successful in their goal, it will be the first time a mountain gorilla, reintroduced to the wild, has ever gone on to produce offspring.