Critically endangered gorilla born at Denver Zoo

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DENVER  — A critically endangered western lowland gorilla at the Denver Zoo has given birth to a baby girl.

The zoo said Tuesday the infant named Whimsie Adepa–pronounced WIM-zee ah-DEEP-ah–was born February 25, just before midnight. Visitors can see her at the zoo’s Great Apes building.

The second part of her name, Adepa, translates to “good thing” in the Akan language of Ghana.

The zoo says this is Tinga’s first offspring and the first birth of her species at the zoo in 11 years, and just the fifth in the zoo’s history! In fact, Tinga was the last gorilla born at the zoo, in May 2005, though she and her family were based in Los Angeles at the time. She moved full time to Denver in November 2014.

Tinga is learning her new role as a mother and stays with Whimsie Adepa at all times, vocalizing to her and patting her on the back.

The zoo says Whimsie Adepa is the second offspring of her father, Jim, and that he’s been protective and gentle. His first daughter, Jabali, was born in 2004.

Western lowland gorillas live in the lowlands, swamps and forests of west central Africa, and can grow up to 5 1/2 feet tall and 500 pounds. There are believed to be only 112,000 of these gorillas left in the world, and that population is declining due to habitat loss, which is why it is considered critically endangered.