A miracle in the gorilla pavilion


24. 04. 2016

On Saturday 23rd April just after the noon Shinda, the Western lowland gorilla female gave birth to her first baby. Shinda is going to turn 25 very soon and when she came to us from Australia in 2001, she had a hormonal contraception implant under her skin. Her inability to have babies was attributed to this very implant whose effects took longer than expected. Shinda had become pregnant in the past but she had always miscarried and due to irregular cycles she had to be treated by means of hormonal contraception. Currently no one believed that the 24-year-old female could have an offspring. The unexpected birth was without any problems – both the mother and the baby are in good condition and therefore the Gorilla pavilion has been opened for public today.

Shinda, a Western Lowland gorilla female gave birth to her firstborn. Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo Shinda, a Western Lowland gorilla female gave birth to her firstborn. Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo

“I cannot imagine what could have surprised me more. Not only did we fail to notice Shinda’s pregnancy but we also gave up all hope that she could have a baby some time ago. The baby not only looks OK, it is perfectly all right. It looks that a miracle can really happen now and then,“ said Miroslav Bobek, the director of Prague Zoo.

On Saturday at about 8 o’clock Shinda’s water broke and the keepers, David Vala and Gabriela Kopecká started monitoring her contractions. Other gorilla group members were with her all the time. The females stayed close by, showed their interest and took a sniff at her. Even the young watched the whole event carefully. Only Richard, the male, let it flow and watched from a distance. At 12:48 Shinda gave birth to her first baby.

“As soon as she had given birth, she started caring after the baby exemplarily – she cleaned it and herself and even though it was her firstborn, she behaved like an experienced mother,” says Vít Lukáš, the curator.   Shortly after the birth the keepers offered water and the usual food – fruit and vegetables – and the proud mother ate the whole dish.

“When being fed, Shinda behaved with an air of sovereignty as if she was aware of her new privilege. She lost her dominant position among the females a year ago but with a baby, her prestige in the group is probably going to increase again,“ the main keeper, David Vala, describes the importance of the newborn baby.

The gorillas were subsequently allowed into the exhibit with Shinda and her baby in the lead followed by the other gorillas. Shinda behaves professionally during further care of her baby as well. She holds it correctly and sometimes jiggles it. The baby makes the keepers happy as well.


Shinda (*14th June 1991)

Shinda was born in Apenheul Zoo in Dutch Apeldoorn. She came to our zoo on September 5th 2001. The impossibility to become pregnant was attributed to the contraception which had been implanted under her skin in order to prevent her from getting pregnant with her father with whom she was living as a young in Australia.   She used to be a brave dominant female but she lost her position about a year ago. This was also due to several miscarriages which Shinda had to go through. She finally gave birth to her first offspring on 23rd April 2016.

We help gorillas

Gorilla conservation in Central Africa is the subject matter of one of Prague Zoo’s flagship in situ projects.Thanks to the funds collected in the ‘We Help Them Survive’ fundraising account, Prague Zoo can pursue and develop activities to help gorillas, focusing on environmental education.

The Wandering Bus project has been the most important part of conservation activities of Prague Zoo in Central Africa. Its aim is to drive children from jungle areas around Cameroon’s Dja Faunal Reserve to visit the wildlife rescue centres, such as those at Limbe and Mefou. There the children take part in educational programs and get to meet wild animals. In this way, they get to know how beautiful these animals are and learn to see them not just as bushmeat or an easy source of livelihood for poachers, but as fascinating creatures deserving our protection



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