Rare Emergency C-Section Performed on Gorilla at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego, California - An 18-year-old gorilla, Imani, gave birth to a baby girl last night around 6:30 p.m. at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Yesterday morning, Imani showed signs of labor and was closely observed by animal care and veterinary staff.  By evening, she showed no signs of progress and was transported to the Safari Park veterinary hospital for an emergency c-section.

The full-term baby, weighing 4.6 pounds, was delivered by a team of San Diego Zoo Global staff and outside consultants, including a veterinary surgeon and human neonatal specialists from UCSD Medical Center.  The baby is showing some complications believed to be related to the difficult labor, and she is currently in intensive care receiving oxygen and supplemental fluids at the veterinary hospital.  Imani is recovering from surgery in the familiar surroundings of the gorilla bedroom area.

"In retrospect the c-section was the right decision," Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park said of the newborn gorilla. "We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer," Lamberski said.

This is the first baby for Imani and the 17th gorilla to be born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park is home to eight gorillas, including the new baby. There are four females: Vila, Kamilah, Kokamo, and Imani; two young males: Monroe, born at the Safari Park in 2011, and Frank, born at the San Diego Zoo in 2008; and adult male Winston, the silverback leader of the troop.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is San Diego Zoo Global's goal. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

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