Premature gorilla baby born at Texas zoo in emergency C-section

Baby gorilla named Jameela

FORT WORTH, Texas — Earlier this week, a zoo in Fort Worth, Texas, announced that in January, a baby gorilla was born prematurely.

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The Fort Worth Zoo announced on Valentine’s Day that the zoo had recently welcomed a premature female gorilla baby.

The baby gorilla was born on Jan. 5, People magazine reported. She weighed 3 pounds, 1 ounce at birth and now weighs approximately 5 pounds.

The reason the baby was born prematurely was that her mother, Sekani, was diagnosed with preeclampsia. The staff at the zoo worked with veterinarians as well as a local obstetrician and neonatologist to figure out the best course of action, which ultimately ended up being an emergency C-section, the zoo said.

Before her C-section, zoo staff had noticed that the mother had “started holding her head and that can be a sign of a headache in a gorilla,” Associate Veterinarian Sarah Cannizzo said, according to KXAS.

Sekani has since made a full recovery, according to People.

We have affectionately named the female baby Jameela, which means “beautiful” in Swahili,” the zoo said in a Facebook post.

“Taking part in delivering Sekani’s infant via cesarean section was one of the highlights of my entire career as an OB-GYN. 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. I was amazed at how Sekani’s anatomy matched that of my human patients,” Dr. Jamie Erwin, OB-GYN consultant for the Fort Worth Zoo since 2016 said, according to the zoo.

Erwin had delivered hundreds of human babies but the baby gorilla was a first for her, KXAS reported.

“Definitely a first for me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime I’m guessing,” Erwin said.

“It was incredible how similar this mother-infant pair was compared to what I see in the hospital for babies born under similar circumstances. The baby needed critical respiratory support for a few hours post-delivery, but as she transitioned to life outside the womb, she stabilized quite nicely. She had so many features typical of a slightly premature human baby. The Zoo’s care team was incredible. Their ability to adapt to the care needs of a medically fragile infant was amazing to watch,” Dr. Robert Ursprung, Neonatologist and National Director of Quality and Safety for Neonatology said, according to the zoo.

More information about Jameela can be found on the zoo’s website.

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