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May 5, 2004 (Denver, Colo.) Ð Denver Zoo is celebrating the birth of an endangered Western lowland gorilla. Rapunzel, a 19-year old gorilla visiting from the Los Angeles Zoo, gave birth to a 5 lb, 4 oz. female baby on May 2. The baby, who has not yet been named, is the first gorilla born at Denver Zoo in 30 years. Kelly, a 16-year old silverback, is the father. ÒThe birth of this gorilla is very significant,Ó stated Denver Zoo President, Clayton Freiheit, Òbecause of the severely endangered status of these creatures. Her birth will help in efforts to preserve this species.Ó Denver Zoo is also pleased to announce that another Western lowland gorilla birth is expected later this month from Jo Ray K, a 26-year old Denver Zoo resident. There are only half a dozen gorilla births in the U.S. each year. The approved breeding of Denver Zoo gorillas is part of the internationally recognized Species Survival Plan (SSP) initiated by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). The SSP is a cooperative population management program designed to maintain genetic diversity of endangered species. Currently Rapunzel and the new baby are not yet available for public viewing, but zookeepers say if all goes well, baby and mother could be on exhibit to the publicin a week or so. Rapunzel and her newborn are currently bonding and being carefully monitored because she is an inexperienced mother, this is her first baby. (photo courtesy of Denver Zoo)

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