An Ohio zoo welcomed an adorable – and critically endangered – baby gorilla this past weekend.

The newborn western lowland gorilla is mother Sue’s first child, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium reported Wednesday. She has been very attentive to her baby, cuddling and rocking the newborn.

“With tiny hands and beautiful big brown eyes that melt our hearts, this baby is absolutely precious — both in terms of cuteness and what this baby means for the future of this species,” Audra Meinelt, curator of the Columbus Zoo’s Congo Expedition region, said in a statement.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium shared adorable photos of the newborn gorilla. Mother Sue cuddled her baby. July 2024.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium


Zoo staff have decided to wait to determine whether the baby is a boy or a girl to ensure that Sue and her newborn can bond with minimal disruption. Although the care team is keeping their distance, experienced father Ktembe and several other gorillas are at the zoo together. The adult gorillas — Ktembe and adult females Nia and Cassie — have given Sue and her baby some space.

The newborn will likely grow to about 300 to 500 pounds if it’s a boy, and 150 to 200 pounds if it’s a girl, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Adult males are up to 6 feet long, while adult females are up to 4.5 feet long.

Jamani, Ktembe and Cassie’s 4-year-old child, is curious and “seems a little too eager to play with her new half-sibling,” the zoo said. Other members of the gorilla group have gently corrected Jamani.

Sue has been at the Columbus Zoo since 2014. She was born in 2004 at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, while Ktembe was born in 2017 at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. He arrived at the Columbus Zoo a few years after Sue. Their mating was recommended by the Species Survival Plan, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums designed to preserve the genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species.

The zoo does not yet know whether Sue and Ktembe’s child is a boy or a girl. July 2024.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium


The Columbus Zoo was home to Colourthe first gorilla born in a zoo in 1956. Colo lived to be 60 years old and passed away in 2017. In total, 35 gorillas have been born in the Columbus Zoo.

While Sue has bonded well with her new baby, that’s not always the case. Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo welcomed a baby gorilla on Friday, but the newborn’s mother unfortunately failed to “demonstrate appropriate maternal behavior despite months of maternal skills training provided by the gorilla care team,” according to the Woodland Park Zoo. The care team there intervened within an hour of the birth and hand-raised the newborn.

“Although we have encouraged maternal behavior, Akenji has not shown promising signs of interest in bonding with her baby. Given that she has demonstrated capable maternal behavior throughout her training program, we are disappointed and a little surprised that those instincts have not kicked in,” Rachel Vass, interim animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo, said in a statement. “As we continue to hand-raise her baby in the short term, the positive news is that he remains healthy, has a great appetite and strong grasp, and is growing bigger every day.”

The population of western lowland gorillas has declined by more than 60 percent in the past 20 to 25 years, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. The species suffers from high levels of disease and is targeted by hunters.