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Hello, Arlene!

ST. PAUL -- What's cooler than a gorilla? A tiny gorilla. Como Park Zoo announced that a Western lowland gorilla was born Feb. 22 in its Gorilla Forest exhibit. First-time mother Dara gave birth to the 5-pound baby, and she appears healthy and st...

Gorillas
Dara, left, holds her baby, Arlene, at Como Park Zoo in St. Paul recently. Arlene, a female western lowland gorilla, was born Feb. 22. The baby’s father, Schroeder, a 29-year-old silverback western lowland gorilla, has been at Como Zoo since 1991. They will likely make their public debut in late March. (SUBMITTED/Como Park Zoo and Conservatory)

ST. PAUL - What’s cooler than a gorilla? A tiny gorilla.

Como Park Zoo announced that a Western lowland gorilla was born Feb. 22 in its Gorilla Forest exhibit. First-time mother Dara gave birth to the 5-pound baby, and she appears healthy and strong, according to the zoo.
The pair were bonding this week, and the baby - a female named “Arlene” - has begun nursing, the zoo said. The public will likely get a first look at mother and baby later this month.
The baby’s father is Schroeder, a 29-year-old silverback Western lowland gorilla who has been at the zoo since 1991. Along with 11-year-old Dara, his troop includes 26-year-old Nne and 12-year-old Alice, whose newborn died shortly after its birth in November.
Named after
longtime volunteer
The new gorilla is named for the late Arlene Scheunemann, who is called the “Zoo Mom.” She fostered more than 200 wild animals in her home over 45 years, feeding and caring for newborn animals before the zoo had facilities to handle infants.
Born nearly helpless, baby gorillas cling to their mother’s fur. The mother will carry her baby on her chest for the first three months, and the baby will ride on the mother’s back and move on the ground close to its mom at about 6 months old.
“Gorillas are very family oriented,” senior zookeeper Jo Kelly said in a news release. “Mom will let other family members see the baby, and they will take their cues from mom as to how close they can be.”
Western lowland gorillas are native to the lowland forests of central and western Africa. They are listed as critically endangered as a result of commercial hunting, disease, habitat loss and other factors.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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