Critically Endangered Gorilla Dies Six Days After Being Born | 22 Words

A critically endangered gorilla has sadly died just 6 days after being born in captivity following the valiant efforts made to maintain gorilla numbers...

Breeding programs are vital to helping severely endangered species survive.

With the likes of trophy hunting still being practiced, many species are rapidly depleting in numbers.

It is a devastating reality that the majority of animals that are extinct are so because of humans.

Despite its barbaric practice, hunting is still very much a popular sport and way too many animals are unnecessarily killed because of it.

Of course, hunting remains very popular in several states here in America...

But Africa is sadly the world’s hotspot for hunting and poaching.

Trophy hunting is all too common in Africa...

And its native animals, such as elephants, lions, zebras, and antelopes, are ruthlessly killed every year to simply become a trophy for the hunter.

Many try to argue that trophy hunting is actually saving wildlife...

But we all know that killing wild animals for sport is not good for “conservation"… at all.

Western Lowland Gorillas are among those species whose numbers are rapidly deleting.

This type of gorilla is 1 of 3 subspecies of the western gorilla and is found primarily forest and swampland in central Africa.

While western lowland gorillas are considered one of the more populous gorilla subspecies, they face several threats...

The first being deforestation to their natural habitat - destroying their homes.

Deforestation leads to an even more heartbreaking scenario.

Cutting down their natural habitat clears the way for people who hunt gorillas for bushmeat. According to National Geographic, near eighty percent of western lowland gorillas live in unprotected areas that are vulnerable to poaching.

Climate change is also threatening their habitat.

Rise in temperatures dry out the area, making it more vulnerable to forest fires.

Humans have undoubtedly played a huge part in why these gorillas are now classified as critically endangered.

But the likes of deforestation and climate change aren't the sole reason. Their numbers have declined rapidly due to infectious diseases and it is believed that the Ebola outbreak may have killed as much as a third of western lowland gorillas in the early '00s.

These goriilas are now protected by national and international laws.

But historically, enforcement of these laws has been minimal - meaning the numbers are still decreasing. As of 2016, their numbers were estimated to be at 362,000 in the wild, but they are falling at a rate of 2.7% per year, according to phys.org.

This is why breeding programs are essential.

Zoos across the globe have made it their mission to help these critically endangered gorillas and replenish their numbers.

And one zoo recently proved this.

On September 4th, the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans welcomed a baby western lowland gorilla!

The baby gorilla was the firstborn for Tumani, a thirteen-year-old critically endangered western lowland gorilla...

And Tumani shared her baby with twenty-seven-year-old Okpara, who was transferred to the Audubon Zoo from the Franklin Park Zoo in 2017.

The baby was the first gorilla birth at Audubon Zoo in twenty-four years...

And the days following the birth, both the mom and the infant seemed to be doing well.

But it didn't take long for the caretakers to notice the baby looking "weak and lethargic" in its mother's arms...

Audubon Zoo said Tumani's baby was then transferred to an animal hospital for care to try and see what was wrong.

However, attempts to revive the infant were unsuccessful.

"There are many risks involved with gorilla births and unfortunately, it is not unusual for a first-time gorilla mom to lose an offspring," Dr. MacLean, Audubon’s senior veterinarian, said in a statement. "Our veterinary team worked with outside medical experts on-site including Species Survival Plan Gorilla Birth Management Team, OB-Gyns, and neonatologist to help us prepare and manage this birth."

Tumani is currently being monitored by Audubon’s veterinary team.

"We are heartbroken over the loss," Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President, and CEO said. "This has been a work in progress for many years, from the introduction of the new troop members to the announcement of the birth, everyone involved has worked tirelessly. I am incredibly proud of our team. We will continue to contribute to the conservation of this amazing species."

The World of Primates section of Audubon Zoo, which specializes in gorilla conservation, will remain closed until further notice...

And it will give Tumani the time to grieve and heal over this tragic loss.

For more on animals in captivity...

Keep scrolling to read about the "world's loneliest" elephant who has been granted permission to finally leave his zoo...