Endangered Gorilla in Audubon Zoo Trains to be Mom [VIDEO]
(WDSU) Thirteen-year-old Tumani, an endangered gorilla at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is expecting. This will be her first, so to get her prepared, zoo staff have come up with clever ways to teach Tumani how to be a great mom.
Audubon Zookeepers are training Tumani using a handmade doll. A regular doll wouldn't last very long with a 160-pound gorilla, so zoo officials have made a "doll" using a section of canvas firehose tubing. The makeshift doll weighs about the 4-pounds to mimic the weight of a newborn gorilla.
Tumani's pregnancy is a pretty big deal as western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the western lowland gorilla species could drop by more than 80% by 2082. Currently, there are 350 of these gorillas in captivity.
Tumani, much like a human expectant mom, will undergo ultrasounds twice per month and is learning how to hold her "doll" close to her in preparation for nursing.
The last gorilla to be born at Audubon Zoo was Praline who is now 24.
Tumani's due date is estimated to be between July 15 and August 20. The dad is Okpara who arrived at Audubon Zoo in 2017. Okpara is 26. The sex of the baby has not been determined.