Audubon Zoo created a baby shower registry for an expecting gorilla – and it’s bananas!
Tumani, a critically endangered western lowland gorilla, is expecting her first baby and needs some items to help her prepare for motherhood.
Similar to a human baby registry, it includes cozy fleece blankets, teether rings, jumbo blocks, bubble bath and even a giant turtle sand box. It also features some gorilla-specific items, like a mini freezer, 32” anvil lopper and shredded wood.
All the items were selected by the zoo’s animal care and veterinary team in New Orleans, Louisiana, according to a news release.
“Audubon spends more than $70,000 a month to feed more than 15,000 animals in our care,” Steve Marshall, the zoo’s vice president, said in the news release. “Caring for our animals is a top priority for Audubon. Your support will provide nutritious diets and premium veterinary care to our animals like Tumani to ensure they are as healthy and happy as possible.”
Tumani’s baby will be the first gorilla born at Audubon Zoo in 24 years.
That means a lot of preparation, not just for Tumani and zoo staff, but also the rest of the gorilla troop, which isn’t used to having an infant around.
“The animal care team is working with Tumani to give her additional tools in her tool belt to aid her after birth should she have difficulties with lactation, positioning of the infant, etc.,” zoo curator Liz Wilson told CNN.
“Her relationship with the animal care team is crucial for success,” Wilson said. “We work diligently to have the environment be nurturing and comfortable. We are essentially the nursing and coaching team that we experience as new parents.”
The birth of a baby also symbolizes a hopeful sign for the future of western lowland gorillas, which have been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, Wilson said.
“Western lowland gorillas have a population decline of more than 80%, mainly due to illegal hunting, disease, habitat loss, such as commercial logging. There are roughly 340,000 western lowland gorillas left,” Wilson said.
Along with maternal training, Tumani is receiving ultrasounds and daily fetal heartbeat monitoring. She is expected to give birth any day.