Saturday, April 21, 2007

Along with the following pictures Mothernature sent this article.

Gorilla Kamba


Today the long expected birth in the gorillas’ pavilion took place. Tens of thousands of people kept their fingers crossed for the female Kamba. It was possible for the public to observe the progress of the pregnancy as well as our care for the mother online on the Internet. Unfortunately the birth did not turn out well. The baby got stuck in the genitals and despite great efforts Kamba did not manage to push it out herself. And what is more approximately in the middle of the birth the umbilical cord came out and Kamba tore it soon after that. In this way she cut down the supply of oxygen for the baby and for the rest of the time she was giving birth to the dead baby. Had there not been for the action of the prepared medical team, the birth would have had a tragic ending also for Kamba. While the whole zoo is very sad we have to mention several important facts about the event. First of all the unsuccessful birth does not mean that somebody has made a mistake. The pregnancy was without any problems up to the last day and Kamba went through the whole process absolutely healthy and in good condition. It was the birth that brought the complications and it was not possible to prevent them. The antenatal examinations that we know from human medical care cannot be applied to gorillas. The healthy and gravid animals would have to be anaesthetised and in this way the mother as well as the foetus would have to be exposed to irrelevant healthy risk. And anaesthesia always represents such a risk. It is not possible to use it for preventive reasons but only when there are serious suppositions that the pregnancy is not all right. Just as nonsensical would be the efforts to separate Kamba from the group for the delivery or any attempts to save the baby at the moment when the umbilical cord was torn. It would cause more damage to no avail. Secondly, not only from Kamba’s pregnancy and birth it is apparent that the Prague zoo is trying to preserve the natural way of life and behaviour of its animals. The breeding of gorillas in our garden takes place without any contact with people, we do not support the close relationship between the animals and their breeders and we want the animals to be themselves even in the environment of the zoo. This is also reflected in our attitude to the breeding. The natural breeding without the touch of human hand is the most precious equipment for life of all wild animals. With Moja we were 100 % successful. And Kamba did not make the very last small step. However, the fact that she for the very first time in her life managed to carry her baby fully developed to the very end represents a success for her and it also means that there is a chance of a future success. Thirdly, it is necessary to point out that everything around Kamba was especially in the very last days and weeks public. The zoo did not hide anything from the public and did not arrange anything. We presented the birth of an animal baby online as a process that is unique but not risk free. I believe that the public will not be shocked by the unsuccessful birth but we all will learn something from that experience. At least people will realize that the zoo is not an exposition of stuffed animals or a film for children where a happy end is necessary. Naturally the life of animals in the zoo has got also its reverse side despite all the efforts of people around them.
Petr Fejk, the director of the Prague zoo, 11th April 2007
Article and Image courtesy of and Mothernature
Until later

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