This update was written by primate keeper Melba Brown.
At six weeks old, western lowland gorilla Moke is already showing interest in exploring his surroundings. Despite his adventurous spirit, mom Calaya continues to hold Moke close. She is not quite ready for him to assert his independence, but she will occasionally place him on or near her feet so he can explore within arm’s reach.
Although Baraka, Moke's father, does not interact with him on the same level that Calaya, Mandara and Kibibi do, he is still a presence in the troop and is protective of his son. Calaya held Moke upside down to clean him the other day, and the youngster let out a loud squeal! Baraka approached mom and infant and made a pleasure rumble vocalization to show his contentment, and Calaya followed suit. This seemed to soothe Moke; it was very sweet to watch them rally together.
Calaya has a strong will and personality, so the Great Ape team is curious to see how Moke will turn out—will he be more like Calaya or Baraka? One thing is for sure: he couldn’t be any cuter!