Baby showers are all the rage at the moment, with expectant mothers worldwide being thrown more and more extravagant parties to celebrate the impending birth of their babies.
Look anywhere on social media and I can guarantee you’ll see one. What you probably won’t have seen before is a baby shower that’s being thrown for a pregnant gorilla, because why would you have done?
That’s all about to change though, because a 13-year-old gorilla at a Louisiana zoo is expecting and to celebrate the zoo is hosting a (virtual) baby shower for her – complete with a baby register for you to give presents to the expecting family.
Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is getting ready to welcome the new baby gorilla, whose parents are western lowland gorilla Tumani and dad Okapara. This will be Tumani’s first baby.
‘Tumani’s quite large,’ Liz Wilson, curator at Audubon Zoo, told local news channel WGNO. ‘In the last few weeks, she looks like she’s popped a little more.’
But before she does pop, staff at the zoo want to do something for the expecting parents. That being the aforementioned virtual baby shower, with staff hoping visitors will donate gifts to the little family.
The zoo shared an invitation to the shower with its Facebook followers:
‘Tumani and Okpara are expecting their first infant any time now! As we wait, you can help and get involved by checking out her online baby registry,’ the Facebook post read.
Wilson said the announcement has proven ‘so popular’ in recent days, adding: ‘Our community is really excited about it.’ This is reflected in the comments underneath the post, with many saying they are ‘so excited’ and ‘can’t wait’ to see the new arrival.
And as strange as a baby registry might sound when we’re talking about gorillas, it’s actually quite a fitting tribute as the animals’ pregnancies are a lot like humans.
‘Gorillas are pregnant for eight and a half months,’ Wilson explained. ‘They usually give birth at night. Gorillas also generally nurse right away.’
Zookeepers aren’t sure whether Tumani’s going to have a boy or a girl yet, but either way it’s a cause for celebration, as it’s been a whopping 24 years since a baby gorilla has been born in Audubon Zoo.
We are ready, and we are excited. The community has really rallied , and we all can feel the excitement.
In fact, they’re so prepared that Tumani has even been taking motherhood classes to desensitise her to the bottle, which staff may need to use to supplement the newborn. They are also training Tumani with a doll so she can get used to being a mum.
The zoo is asking for the public’s help because, in Wilson’s own words, ‘these guys are eating machines’. So much so that the zoo spends around $70,000 a month just to feed all the animals at the zoo.
So how can you help? Well, there are a number of ways, including donating to: the Toy and Food Fund, which provides toys and food for the gorillas; the Baby Food and Supplies Fund, which provides food and vital medicine for the zoo’s newest additions; and the Amazon gift list, which has personalised items like sheets, mega-blocks, teething rings, and much more.
You can find the link to donate to all of those funds here. Congratulations to the happy family!
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