NEW ORLEANS– Any day now, Audubon Zoo will soon have a new baby gorilla. To celebrate, the zoo is hosting a virtual baby shower with a registry for you to give gifts to the gorilla family.
Audubon Zoo’s 13-year-old western lowland gorilla, “Tumani”, is almost ready to give birth to her first baby!
“Tumani’s quite large. In the last few weeks, she looks like she’s popped a little more,” Liz Wilson, curator at Audubon Zoo said.
But before we pour the champagne to celebrate mom Tumani and dad Okapara, the zoo is hosting a virtual baby shower with a baby gorilla registry.
“It has been so popular. Our community is really excited about it,” Wilson said.
There are a few ways to buy gifts. You can donate to the toy and food fund with your credit card online, which provides toys and food for the gorillas.
“These guys are eating machines. We spend about $70,000 a month just on food to feed all the animals at Audubon,” she said.
You can also donate on their Amazon gift list, which has personalized items like sheets, mega-blocks, teething rings and much more.
A baby registry is fitting for a mama gorilla, especially since their pregnancies are a lot like humans.
“Gorillas are pregnant for eight and a half months. They usually give birth at night. Gorillas also generally nurse right away,” she said.
We don’t know if Tumani’s going to have a boy or girl yet, but we do know that it has been 24 years since Audubon Zoo has had seen a gorilla give birth there.
“We are ready, and we are excited. The community has really rallied, and we all can feel the excitement,” Wilson said.
Tumani has even been taking motherhood classes to desensitize her to the bottle, which staff may need to supplement the infant at some point. They are also training Tumani with a doll so she can get used to motherhood.
For a link to Tumani’s Baby Shower Registry, click here.