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Welcome, 'Little One': Critically Endangered Gorilla Born At National Zoo

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Moke, a western lowland gorilla, was born on Sunday to great delight at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Roshan Patel/Smithsonian’s National Zoo hide caption

toggle caption Roshan Patel/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

This was years in the making: An adorable, critically endangered male lowland gorilla has been born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Zoo staff have named him Moke [Mo-KEY], a name that means “little one.”

He’s the first one to be born at the National Zoo in nine years, perfect and wrinkly and clinging to his mom, 15-year-old Calaya. She came to the zoo in February 2015 after scientists recommended that she might be a good candidate to breed there. Moke’s father is a 26-year-old named Baraka.

“The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our Zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole,” Meredith Bastian, curator of primates, said in a statement.

🦍 Gorillas Calaya & Moke are bonding in the Great Ape House. Mom is providing excellent care, nursing & cradling Moke closely. Baraka, Mandara & Kibibi are very interested in Moke! #GorillaStory pic.twitter.com/uhSPbnvJS5

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