- Title: GERMANY: A baby gorilla is shown off for the first time at Munich zoo
- Date: 9th December 2006
- Summary: MUNICH, GERMANY (DECEMBER 08, 2006) (REUTERS) POSTER FOR HELLABRUNN ZOO WITH PICTURE OF A BABY LEOPARD EXTERIOR WITH GORILLA STATUE
- Embargoed: 24th December 2006 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Nature / Environment,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVABCPM00U72EI12IT167OFO4DBB
- Story Text: Munich zoo presented its new baby gorilla for the first time on Friday (December 8). The baby was born in October, but fittingly for his first appearance during just before Christmas, he is called Niklas.
"We got a baby gorilla on October 10th, it's a male and the sponsors called him Niklas," the Hellabrun Zoo Spokeswoman, Doris Schwarzer said. "The mother, "Bagira" is looking after him fantastically, at the moment the baby is just hanging from his mothers stomach, directly next to the source of his mothers milk. Otherwise he just sleeps the whole day."
Niklas is the son of 21 year old female Bagira, and the 33 year old silverback "Roututu". Bagira doesn't let go of Niklas, who spends most of his day hanging to her stomach. Indeed, at eight and a half months, gorillas pregnancies are quite long in the animal world.
"At the beginning gorilla babies are just like human babies, they sleep the whole day," Schwarzer said. "The difference is in the gorilla baby's ability to hold onto things, they can hold onto their mothers stomachs all by themselves. But the mother makes sure they are holding on during extreme climbing. She won't put the baby down for the next three months, then she will gradually put him in a corner and walk away a couple of times, and he will start to walk around himself. After about six months he'll be quite merry."
The male gorilla babies stay with the family in Europe's biggest gorilla pen until they are sexually mature, before they are found a new home with another group where they start their own families.
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