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Zoo brings in OB-GYN for humans to deliver baby gorilla

Philadelphia Zoo(PHILADELPHIA) -- A baby western lowland gorilla was born at the Philadelphia Zoo with big eyes and a big smile, but he had no ordinary birth.

The zoo called in the help of doctors who normally treat humans, from an OB-GYN to surgeons and anesthesiologists from local hospitals and institutions, to assist in the difficult birthing process for the newborn’s mom, 17-year-old Kira.

“On Thursday, June 1, keeper staff noticed signs that Kira had begun labor, but as of Friday morning she had not delivered,” a press release for the new bundle of joy read. “She appeared to tire and behaved as if she were feeling worse over the course of the morning and there were no signs of the labor progressing. Typically, gorilla labor is quick and the mother does not appear tired, distressed, or show symptoms of feeling poorly.”

With the assistance of the additional medical staff, the team delivered a healthy, happy baby boy who weighed in at exactly 5 pounds.

“If this had gone how it typically goes, there would have been no human interference at all,” Dana Lombardo, the zoo’s director of communications, told ABC News. “We only intervene when there’s something wrong.”

The doctors had to use many of the same birthing techniques and tools that are used for human deliveries, such as forceps and episiotomy, which the press release stated is “a rare occurrence when delivering a gorilla baby.”

Once Kira recovered from her anesthesia she was reunited with her baby boy “and has been continuously cradling and nursing him since,” the zoo wrote.

“Though Kira is a first-time mom, we’re not surprised she’s acting like an expert already,” said Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s chief operating officer. “She was a great older sister to younger siblings and has been very attentive while our other female gorilla Honi has raised baby Amani. Everybody is excited about these two future playmates.”

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