It's a girl! Como Zoo's new baby gorilla is 'healthy and strong'


The Como Zoo is welcoming another baby to its troop.

First-time mother Dara gave birth to little Arlene on Feb. 22, the zoo announced Monday. She weighed 5 pounds when she was born, and the zoo said she "appears healthy and strong."

She'll make her public debut in late March.

Arlene is the latest of several babies born at the Como Zoo in recent months, including an orangutan, giraffe and a zebra, and she is the second gorilla ever born at the zoo.

In November, the zoo welcomed it's first baby gorilla, but it died a few days later due to what was believed to be complications with food intake.

Food intake was also an issue for Arlene. The zoo rarely intervenes after a mother gives birth because it's important for her to bond with her baby and start nursing, but the zoo was concerned about Arlene's ability to nurse successfully and stepped in Wednesday morning to give the baby fluids.

The zoo says Arlene is now nursing regularly, but it will continue to monitor the pair.

Arlene was named after Arlene Scheunemann, who is known as Como's "Zoo Mom" for her dedication to caring for baby animals before the zoo had property facilities to do so. Scheunemann is also the subject of the biography, "Zoo Mom: The Life of Arlene Scheunemann," which was released in May 2014.

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