Giving birth is a miracle, whether the baby is human or animal. Sometimes, complications arise during this miraculous event that require outside help. Without the help of those who care, these complications have the propensity of turning a joyous occasion into a mournful one.
Imani, a western lowland gorilla at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, gives testimony to this fact. On March 12, 2014, a baby girl was born to Imani. During labor, complications arose that forced veterinarians to perform a C-section, saving both mother and baby.
Joanne, as NBC7 San Diego states the baby was later named, suffered from a collapsed lung and pneumonia, requiring special treatment from the doctors at the zoo's veterinary hospital. For seven days, Joanne received oxygen, high-flow therapy and antibiotics.
On day eight, Joanne began taking formula from a bottle. During this time, Imani returned to the gorilla park, not getting to see her baby at all. Workers at the park kept a close on Imani, noting she was healing and eating well.
By day 11, Joanne was ready to meet her mother. Workers let Imani see her daughter through a fence first. When that went well, zoo workers placed Joanne on fresh hay in a room for Imani to come and see.
For three hours Imani was content to simply carry Joanne around the "bedroom." Mom then settled down and began nursing her baby.
The next day, Imani and Joanne joined the rest of the gorillas. "The baby's father, Winston, [was] keeping Frank and baby brother Monroe under constant supervision," San Diego Safari Park states. "They were all mildly curious about the baby, but were willing to allow Imani enjoy private time with her infant."
Two years later, San Diego Zoo Safari Park celebrated Joanne's second birthday. Although the birth began with 11 days of separation, NBC7 San Diego reports that Imani has taken motherhood seriously and is still being an excellent mother to Joanne.