Lash and Madini, two critically endangered gorillas at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, have just welcomed their newborn baby into the residence. The western lowland gorillas are now parents to an infant born Friday. The newborn is the fifth gorilla to be born in the confines of the zoo since 2018, the third child to 44-year-old Lash as well as the second child to 24-year-old Madini.
"Madini is a fantastic mother," assured Tracy Fenn, the zoo's assistant curator of mammals. "The infant is strong and nursing well. They are doing so well that we were comfortable allowing them out on exhibit quickly."
The couple did not meet naturally (who does these days!). Instead, they met on the apps...as in applications. The two were matched as a quality breeding pair through the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). The goal of the SSP is to protect endangered animals from extinction.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List considers the Western lowland gorillas as critically endangered. Poaching, disease, deforestation, and habitat loss have all contributed to their slow decline. Thankfully, with this newbie in the mix, that threat is a little farther away now.