Zoo's Atlanta gorilla, Sukari, expecting second child

Zoo's Atlanta gorilla, Sukari, expecting second child

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ATLANTA -

Sukari, a 15-year-old western lowland gorilla, is expecting!

Zoo Atlanta says she due to deliver her second infant  between lateJuly and mid August. The Zoo Atlanta Animal Management and Veterinary Teamshave been monitoring the developing fetus via ultrasound since confirmingSukari's pregnancy in early 2013.

Sukari's half-sister, Lulu, gave birth to an infant, Andi, inMarch 2013. Both infant gorillas carry the Zoo's equivalent of a royalbloodline: They are the fifth and soon-to-be sixth surviving grandchildren ofthe legendary late Willie B., who passed away in 2000.

"We're looking forward to meeting Sukari's new infant. We'reparticularly excited about the idea of welcoming not just one but two gorillainfants in 2013," said Raymond B. King, President and CEO.

"Western lowlandgorillas are critically endangered, and this is a species that's particularlynear and dear to us at Zoo Atlanta. Willie B. was an icon for two generationsof Atlantans, and we can't think of a finer way to honor his legacy than tocelebrate the births of two more of his grandchildren."

Zoo Atlanta houses North America's largest collection of westernlowland gorillas, which are currently classified as critically endangered.Habitat loss and poaching are the primary threats to wild populations, whichmay have declined by as much as 95 percent in some parts of Africa over thepast two decades.

The late-summer new arrival will be the second offspring forSukari and 23-year-old silverback Taz. Sukari's firstborn, 6-year-old Gunther,now lives in a bachelor group with young males Kali, 7, and Mbeli, 11.

Sukari's infant will arrive on the heels of another historic birthat Zoo Atlanta: Lun Lun the giant panda gave birth to twins on July 15, 2013.Other high-profile births anticipated in 2013 include an eastern blackrhinoceros calf, first offspring of Andazi and the first of its species ever tobe born at Zoo Atlanta, and a Bornean orangutan, second offspring of Miri. Bothare expected to arrive around September.

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