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It’s a boy: Zoo holds gender reveal event for baby gorilla

May 16, 2019

A large western silverback gorilla sauntered over to a colorful star-shaped piñata Wednesday morning at the Gladys Porter Zoo.

Mbundi grabbed the piñata off of a rope and pulled it to the ground and took a bite out of it before reaching in and pulling out a handful of blue paper, to the enjoyment of dozens who eagerly awaited the moment signifying the gender of the zoo’s newest resident, a 10-day-old baby gorilla.

And Mbundi revealed to the world upon discovering the blue paper that the zoo’s newest resident is a yet-to-be named boy.

Margaret, the baby’s mother, gave birth to it on Cinco de Mayo.

Staff at the zoo also revealed during the event that another gorilla is pregnant and expected to give birth soon.

Walter Dupree, mammal curator at the zoo, said Rio Grande Valley residents should be excited for the new baby and the baby on the way because female gorillas will only give birth four to five times throughout their lifetimes.

“That’s what is so exciting about this,” Dupree said.

And the birth couldn’t have gone better, Dupree said, explaining that zookeepers made sure Margaret was comfortable and that her needs were met during her pregnancy.

“If you look at it, it’s nice and healthy and we couldn’t be happier,” Dupree said.

The last time a gorilla at the Gladys Porter Zoo gave birth was about seven years ago. That gorilla was eventually adopted by a surrogate at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

As for the newest gorilla, Dupree hopes to keep it in Brownsville, but admits there will come a time when its dad will no longer want it in the group, which is only natural.

But for now, Dupree said the zoo is excited about its new edition and the future edition, which could come any day now as the other pregnant gorilla is near term.

“In about two years, there will be two little ones rolling around out there,” Dupree said, gesturing toward the gorilla island.

But the 10-day-old doesn’t yet have a name and Dupree said zoo staff is still figuring out how to choose one.

“There’s a couple different ways to name it,” Dupree said, adding that the public may have a role in naming the baby gorilla. “We are a public facility and educate the public. What better way to get people involved?”

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com