Tragedy cut short celebrations at a New Orleans zoo this week when a newborn gorilla, the first welcomed to the facility in more than two decades, died after six days.
“We are heartbroken over the loss,” Ron Forman, the president and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institute, said in a statement Thursday.
The baby didn’t have a name yet. It was born Sept. 4, the first offspring of Tumani, a 13-year-old member of the zoo’s gorilla troop.
“Animal care staff noticed on Wednesday evening the gorilla infant seemed lethargic and weak in the arms of the mother,” the zoo said.
Veterinarians at the facility’s animal hospital were unable to revive it. A necropsy was expected to determine the cause of death, but preliminary evidence suggests Tumani might not have been producing enough milk, authorities said.
“There are many risks involved with gorilla births and unfortunately, it is not unusual for a first-time gorilla mom to lose an offspring,” said