A British surgeon has performed a rare caesarean section to deliver a baby gorilla - the first such operation of its kind in Britain.
While the procedure is common for human births, it has only been carried out on gorillas a handful of times worldwide, the Guardian reported.
The baby girl gorilla, born on Feb 12, weighed just over a kilogramme when born. She has yet to be named.
She needed help from vets to breath independently but is now recovering, said the Bristol Zoo in a press release.
The baby is being hand reared by a team of gorilla keepers while her mother, Kera, recovers from her operation.
Prior to the caesarean, Kera showed signs of pre-eclampsia - pregnancy complications which were life-threatening.
Senior curator of animals, John Partridge, said in a press release: "The birth of any gorilla is a rare and exciting event; but the birth of a baby gorilla by caesarean section is even more unusual.
"It wasn't a decision that we took lightly - Kera was becoming quite poorly and we needed to act fast in order to give the best possible treatment to mother and baby, and to avoid the possibility of losing the baby."
Dr David Cahill, a professor in reproductive medicine and medical education at Bristol University and a gynaecologist in St Michael's Hospital, performed the operation along with Dr Aamna Ali, also from St Michael's Hospital.
Dr Cahill said: "Along with having my own children, this is probably one of the biggest achievements of my life and something I will certainly never forget. I have since been back to visit Kera and the baby gorilla, it was wonderful to see them both doing so well."
We’re very excited to announce that a baby Western lowland gorilla has been born at the Zoo after an emergency caesarean procedure.The little one was born 11 days ago and was delivered by a rare, emergency caesarean procedure, as her mum Kera showed symptoms of potentially life-threatening pre-eclampsia. The baby needed help from vets before she was able to breathe independently, but is now doing well, being hand-reared round the clock by a small team of experienced gorilla keepers.You can read more about the baby here. http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/latest-zoo-news/Baby-gorilla-born-by-rare-c...
Posted by Bristol Zoo Gardens on Monday, 22 February 2016
Staff vet Rowena Killick helped with the procedure and the immediate treatment of the baby gorilla, including performing emergency resuscitation.
"The baby needed some intensive care immediately after birth and it is still very early days, but we are cautiously optimistic and will be keeping a very close eye on both her and Kera," she said.
The first few days were critical for the baby. It was vital that she was kept warm and that she begin taking small amounts of formula milk.
Said Curator of mammals, Lynsey Bugg: "She... is getting stronger and more alert each day."