This gorilla at the Columbus Zoo was thought to be a male, until it gave birth

Jack McLaughlin

The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium welcomed a brand-new baby gorilla yesterday, and it was quite a surprise for zookeepers. 

According to a statement from the Zoo, Sully, the mother gorilla, was actually thought to be a male until yesterday. 

“We have an adorable surprise to share with all of you today! Our gorilla family just got a little bigger with the unexpected birth of a female baby gorilla! But here’s the other incredible part: our dedicated keepers recently discovered that the proud mom, who was initially believed to be a male, is actually a female gorilla. Talk about a surprise twist,” the Zoo’s statement reads.

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The Zoo became aware of the birth when Sully was seen holding her newborn baby on Thursday morning.

Wondering how this could have happened? We’ll tell you.

While a gorilla’s gestational period is almost the same as humans, they typically don’t show signs of pregnancy, because their stomachs are so large, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium said. Gorillas are herbivores and have to consume larger volumes of food daily.

Additionally, gorillas have much smaller sex organs than humans and other primates, and both males and female gorillas remain the same size until approximately eight years old. Sully was eight years old when she gave birth.

“This exciting event shines a spotlight on the importance of preserving these magnificent creatures and their habitats. According to the International Union For Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species™, western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild due to deforestation, habitat loss, and the devastating illegal bushmeat trade,” the Zoo’s statement reads.

The gorilla habitat will reopen today.

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new July issue here!

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