Baby Gorilla Born in Rare C-Section Is Thriving & Her First Photos Are Absolutely Adorable

A baby gorilla named Jameela had a scary start when she was born prematurely in a rare and life-threatening emergency C-section at the Fort Worth Zoo. But today she is thriving.

Jameela is the pride and joy of the staff. In its 115-year history, she is one of only three gorillas to be born at the zoo. She is also the first to come from a cesarian, and her arrival on Jan. 5, 2024, has a miraculous story.

Baby gorilla being examined after c-section

The baby gorilla came about five weeks early. At that time, her mother, Sekani, began showing signs of pre-eclampsia, which presented exactly as they do in human mothers. The complication happens when blood pressure instantly spikes, and it can be fatal for both the mom and the unborn baby.

The Baby Gorilla’s Name Has Two Special Meanings

Zookeepers knew how urgent the situation was. So they called a team of gynecologists, who practiced on people, and asked if they could help. The OBs immediately rushed to Sekani’s side and determined that a C-section was the only way to save the mom and baby gorilla.

Primates are humans’ closest living relatives in the animal kingdom with many biological similarities,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. “Our veterinary team has consulted with physicians for humans in the past to seek advice on particular cases involving primates. The Zoo has a years-long relationship consulting with Jamie Walker Erwin, M.D., board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, who quickly assembled a volunteer medical team to assist with the life-saving delivery procedure.”

The OBs and a vet team jumped into action with Dr. Jamie at the lead. Jameela was not breathing when she was born—but the doctors were able to resuscitate her quickly.

Baby Jameela's first photos.

The Fort Worth Zoo staff named the baby gorilla Jameela for two reasons—the word means “beautiful” in Swahili and it closely resembles the baby’s hero, Dr. Jamie.

“Taking part in delivering Sekani’s infant via cesarean section was one of the highlights of my entire career as an OB-GYN,” Dr. Jamie said in a statement. “It is an honor and privilege to assist with care for this endangered species and to share my expertise with the veterinary staff at the Fort Worth Zoo.”

Baby Gorilla resting at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Jameela and her mother are happy and healthy nearly two months later. Neither suffered any long-term health issues from the surgery. The baby, however, is working with a surrogate because Sekani was not able to bond with her baby.

You can get more updates about Jameela’s journey here.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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