Baby gorilla born by c-section named Afia in public vote

'It’s also quite a pretty name and obviously at the moment she’s a little cutie'

Serina Sandhu
Thursday 31 March 2016 10:00
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Baby gorilla takes first walk outside

The public has voted for a baby gorilla, delivered by a caesarean section at Bristol Zoo, to be called Afia.

More than 9,000 people took part in the vote, with the majority picking Afia - the preferred choice among staff at the zoo too.

Lynsey Bugg, Afia’s keeper, said the name, which means “Friday born child” in Ghanaian, suited the seven-week-old gorilla and was appropriate because she was born on a Friday evening.

“It’s also quite a pretty name and obviously at the moment she’s a little cutie.” The other two name choices were Maiombe and Pianga.

The baby gorilla had her first experience of being outside on the island enclosure at Bristol Zoo Gardens on Wednesday. Cradled by Ms Bugg during the outing, its purpose was to introduce Afia to the sights and smells outside.

Ms Bugg said she was still learning how to use her hands and feet, and that it would be a few months before she could explore the island on her own.

The zoo is not sure when the public will be able to view Afia though. As she is being hand-reared, she has to be carefully introduced to the group of gorillas.

Afia, a Western lowland gorilla, was delivered by a rare emergency c-section in February after her mother Kera showed signs of pre-eclampsia. Since giving birth, Kera has been critically ill and suffering with anaemia.

Consequently, Afia is currently being cared for by keepers at the zoo. However, Romina, another female gorilla, has been showing strong maternal signs towards her.

Ms Bugg said: “Our end game is to try and get her back with her family. We don’t want an animal that’s only living with humans – to me that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do here.”

“We’re trying to nurture the bond between here and the others in the group because if we can get someone to take her as a surrogate or foster her, or even if her mum could take her back, that would obviously be what we’d love to achieve.”

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