Photos of tiny baby gorilla released as Bristol Zoo set to reopen

  • Watch Richard Payne's report

Staff at Bristol Zoo Gardens are busy preparing the site to welcome visitors back on Monday when Covid lockdown restrictions ease.

Part of their task is looking after one of the newest arrivals - a four-month-old baby gorilla.

The tiny western lowland gorilla, which has not yet been named, lives on the zoo's Gorilla Island with his mother Touni who is 13.

Touni gave birth naturally to the male baby in the early hours of December 22 with father Jock and the rest of the family troop nearby.

He is Touni's second baby after she gave birth to big sister Ayana in April 2017.

Zookeeper Zoe Grose said: "She's a very experienced mum and she's doing a great job.

"We've seen him coming off mum a bit more regularly now. He's quite curious so he's off seeing the other members of the group.

The baby gorilla is yet to be named. Credit: PA

"He's never too far away from mum. She's always got one hand on him and she's always close by, especially with the youngsters who want a bit of practice so they always try to get the babies and go off with them.

"We have seen his older sister carrying him so that's quite nice to see. His mum is quite a dominant female in this group so she makes sure that they know what the boundaries are."

The new arrival has mainly been away from public view since his birth due to lockdown but visitors will be able to see him from Monday.

Ms Grose said they will see the infant spending time with Touni and feeding from her as he will not be weaned until around four years old.

"We're really excited to have everyone back," Ms Grose said. "We want to share our wonderful animals that we get to spend our days with.

"It's been quite a long time and a very strange year not to have the public around.

The gorilla will soon be learning to walk and crawl. Credit: PA

"It'll be really nice and exciting to share a new addition of the group and all of our information, it's a really special thing to be able to share that with the public."

She said the gorilla troop have become used to people "coming and going" over the past year, though staff have remained on site throughout.

"During the first lockdown particularly, they were very confused as to why there weren't people around and would regularly sit outside waiting for our public talks," Ms Grose added.

"I think they've got used to it now but they're very adaptable animals so I think they'll enjoy people being able to see them outside again."

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