New go­rilla baby joy for Port Lympne

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile - by Chris Denham cden­ham@thek­m­

A BABY go­rilla has been born at Port Lympne.

Louna has no fewer than 25 sib­lings, in­clud­ing half-sis­ters and broth­ers. Mum Foufou gave birth to lit­tle Louna, named af­ter the river run­ning through the Le­sio-Louna Re­serve in the Congo, man­aged by the Aspinall Foun­da­tion.

Now 16, Foufou was born at sis­ter park Howletts be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to Port Lympne. Louna’s di­rect sib­lings are Yene, eight, and M’Passa, five. The proud fa­ther, who has sired 25 ba­bies to date, is 26-year-old Djala, who was res­cued from the Congo.

Phil Ridges, head of the go­rilla sec­tion at Port Lympne, said: “We are de­lighted that yet again Foufou has shown signs of be­ing an ex­cel­lent mother and vis­i­tors can al­ready see the baby out and about in its fam­ily en­clo­sure with mum.”

There are no more than 100,000 West­ern low­land go­ril­las left in the world and ex­tinc­tion looms by 2020 if the num­ber con­tin­ues to de­cline at its present rate.

The Aspinall Foun­da­tion has said this is due to de­for­esta­tion, the ebola virus and the bush meat trade.

Howletts and Port Lympne Wild An­i­mal Parks are home to 72 West­ern low­land go­ril­las be­tween them, the largest col­lec­tion in hu­man care with three hand-reared ba­bies hav­ing been suc­cess­fully trans­ferred to Gabon this sum­mer.

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