LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Mia Moja, a 27-year-old gorilla at the Louisville Zoo who gave birth Monday afternoon, has died. 

That's according to a news release from the Louisville Zoo.

The baby gorilla was was born via emergency cesarean section at 12:35 p.m. on March 14. Mia passed away a little after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 15 from complications. A full post mortem examination will be performed on Mia to determine the cause of death.

Zoo officials say the baby arrived about three weeks earlier than expected. 

Senior Staff Veterinarian Gyimesi explained that "gorilla Mia was experiencing unusual bleeding. Her condition was considered life-threatening and a decision was made to examine her. A surgical team was quickly assembled and an emergency cesarean section was elected for the good of mom and baby."

The baby gorilla is in critical condition but currently stable and continually monitored by gorilla keeper staff. She weighed 3 pounds and 9 ounces at birth and was 14 inches long, close to the average size of a full term gorilla baby. She was monitored overnight and bottle fed Similac special care formula for premature babies every two hours by the Zoo’s gorilla care staff.  

This gorilla birth is part of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). Breeding plans work to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations. The birth will bring the total number of western lowland gorillas at the award-winning Gorilla Forest to ten.

“It has been a very tough 24 hours for us.  Welcoming a new baby is always exciting, but losing Mia is heartbreaking. These life events are even more impactful and extraordinary when we are talking about endangered species,” said Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak. “Our main focus right now is caring for this critical but stable premature gorilla baby.”

Gorilla Mshindi is the father and his group includes two other females: 26-year-old Paki on loan from the Bronx Zoo in New York, and 32-year-old Kweli, who was born at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The baby is Mia Moja’s third and the second with Mshindi. This baby will be the third gorilla born at the Louisville Zoo since it opened the award-winning Gorilla Forest exhibit in 2002.


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