Baby gorilla dies at Lincoln Park Zoo

Proud, protective papa "Kwan" shows off his baby gorilla at Lincoln Park Zoo's Regenstein Center for African Apes in November 2011. (Todd Rosenberg.)

April 10, 2012 6:23:38 AM PDT
A gorilla born last week at Lincoln Park Zoo has died.

The western lowland gorilla baby born on November 16 was found dead Friday morning still being carried by her mother, Bana.

"This is an extremely sad day for the Lincoln Park Zoo family," said Megan Ross, vice president of Animal Care. "We have been watching the mother and infant very closely since the birth and felt cautiously optimistic that the baby was healthy and being cared for appropriately. We are all surprised and very saddened by this tragic turn of events."

Bana was allowed to keep the baby for several hours in order to make peace with what happened. Gorillas' periods of mourning have been well documented and are often compared to those of humans, a zoo news release said.

Bana, a first-time mother, carried the baby full term, and the infant appeared to be fully-developed. The cause of death was head trauma.