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Birth of Endangered Gorilla Brings Smiles to the Bristol Zoo

Mackenzie Freeman

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There are more than 41,000 endangered species at serious risk of extinction in today’s world, a dire situation that sounds the alarm for many environmental and animal activists. With so many beautiful creatures losing their homes and dying in the wild, the birth of any endangered species brings happiness to animal lovers around the world, and the recent arrival at the Bristol Zoo did just that. 

A tiny western lowland gorilla was born on August 19 at Bristol Zoo’s Gorilla House, nearly one year after 9-year-old Kala lost her firstborn. Kala’s second pregnancy resulted in a healthy birth with her beautiful rainbow baby, giving the zoo community greater hope for the dwindling gorilla population. 

Zookeepers were devastated by the death of Kala’s first baby following an emergency cesarean last September. It was a sad experience for everyone, but when zoo staff discovered Kala was pregnant again, they were excited to see what would happen despite some understandable anxiety about what the future would hold for the captivating creature.

Luckily, their worst fears were never realized as Kala safely carried her baby through the gestation period before giving birth naturally in the early morning hours. The baby’s father Jock stayed close to Kala for support during the birth, a magical moment showing the power and resilience of the animal kingdom and this increasingly rare gorilla species.

The zookeepers were thrilled to discover the new addition to the family when they arrived for work that day. With mother and baby perfectly healthy and happy, it’s been a relatively seamless transition as the gorilla group grew by one. Bristol Zoo has been sharing regular updates to social media, including the welcome news that Kala is taking to motherhood like a champ. 

The incredibly intelligent gorilla has been paying lots of attention to her little bundle of joy, who is a healthy size much to the zoo’s relief. With Kala taking proper care of her baby, the zoo is “cautiously optimistic” about the pair’s future, according to a recent press release. Zookeepers are giving mom and baby their space during this delicate time, and it may take a few more looks before they can officially determine whether the newborn is male or female. 

The six gorillas in the zoo’s troop are part of a dedicated breeding program, implemented to protect the future of the critically endangered western lowland gorillas, which hail from the African region containing Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Without considerable intervention, the future for this species looked dire, as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) points to disease and poaching for a more than 60 percent population decrease in the last two decades alone.

The swampy rainforests of the Congo Basin make up the gorillas’ native habitat, but their population is not safe in the wild with the current threats. WWF reports that, even if all threats were eliminated, the western lowland population could need at least 75 years to stabilize and eventually strengthen. That’s why breeding and protection programs are so important, and why animal experts are hoping for the best for Kala and her child.

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Life

35 Life Hacks That Will Revolutionize Your Life

Lea Lomas

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Life is all about learning and as we age, boy, do we learn a lot! In order to make the most out of the wisdom we gain from age, we’ve decided to collect 35 of the most clever life hacks on the internet. You can use these simple life hacks for everything from work and travel to getting chores done faster around the house. 

Once you learn these life hacks, you will never want to go back!

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Life

35 Life Hacks That Will Revolutionize Your Life

Sherry Rucherman

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Life is all about learning and as we age, boy, do we learn a lot! In order to make the most out of the wisdom we gain from age, we’ve decided to collect 35 of the most clever life hacks on the internet. You can use these simple life hacks for everything from work and travel to getting chores done faster around the house. 

Once you learn these life hacks, you will never want to go back!

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Animals

A Koala Mother Babysits Three Joeys

Mackenzie Freeman

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The parents who have several young children at home often talk about the challenges that they face. Caring for even one very young child is certainly difficult. Having three kids like this just multiplies all of the associated obstacles. Strangely enough, many animal parents don’t quite seem to have the exact same issues. Then again, it’s possible that koala parents might have some of the same problems. 

Very young children tend to squirm and kick whenever they’re held. Parents who have twins sometimes have a difficult time holding both of the kids at once for that reason. They might get used to it, but it still might pose a lot of challenges physically. These situations are even tougher on the parents who actually have triplets. There are koala mothers who have to care for three joeys at once. A koala mother at the Billabong Zoo was in that situation recently. 

Human parents have certain inherently advantages. The fact that humans are comparatively tall certainly helps. Human infants and toddlers are very small compared to their parents. Many animal parents are not as fortunate, including the koala mother at Australia’s Billabong Zoo.

While these koala joeys are actually capable of climbing trees on their own, they seem to prefer resting on her back. While they’re still smaller than she is, the size difference is actually relatively modest. The mother koala seems to be only around three times the size of each individual joey. Since there are three of them, she seems to be at least somewhat overwhelmed. 

The koala joeys can’t seem to sit still, and all four of them seem as if they’re struggling to get comfortable and stay that way. They aren’t resting peacefully on the mother’s back. Instead, they’re constantly shifting and stepping on her. As this is happening, she’s still trying to hold onto the tree. They almost look as if they’re scratching her at times, which is enough to make anyone feel sorry for the mother koala.

It’s an entertainingly adorable image, but the mother koala still seems to be struggling to keep up with all of these joeys. She’s being remarkably patient, especially when people consider the situation overall. These koala joeys were not actually hers. She was just looking after them.

This sort of thing might surprise a lot of people, since koalas are not especially social animals. In fact, plenty of relatively unsocial animals will care for babies that aren’t theirs. They’ll still have the caregiver instinct, which can be helpful in a zoo environment. 

Koala joeys are actually very strongly connected to their parents emotionally. They spend months in pouches, and aren’t even remotely independent for a full year. It takes them even more time to become truly independent, and they’re still very attached to their parents from that point onward. This koala is not actually their mother, but they have the same sort of bonding instinct that her actual children would have. She’s acting as their mother, and that appears to be good enough for the joeys. 

Even though they could spend time on the tree alone, many of them are not going to want to do so. Koalas are generally very inactive animals. The mother koala in particular just seems to want to rest, and the joeys are not making that easy. Still, as energetic as they are, the joeys still settle down some of the time. 

It almost looks as if all four of them are going to fall any second. Still, all koalas are adapted to this sort of situation, and they’re astonishingly good at staying on trees. 

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