Get ready to pass out cigars (or maybe bananas?) — Pele, one of the western lowland gorillas at Busch Gardens, is expecting her first baby next month. Western lowland gorillas are an endangered species, so the 11-year-old's pregnancy is especially joyful.
Pele came to Busch Gardens in February 2010 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. Handlers noted that one of Busch Gardens' male gorillas, Bolingo, quickly became fond of her. Bolingo is no stranger to the maternity ward. Born in November 2005 at Busch Gardens, Bolingo was the first successful gorilla birth in Busch Gardens' history.
The gorilla's gestation period averages about 8 and a half months, so Pele is expected to give birth in December.
Busch Gardens says both Pele and Bolingo can be seen in Myombe Reserve, and that Pele will continue to be on guest view until she gives birth.
—Sharon Kennedy Wynne