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Your morning adorable: Baby gorilla born at the San Francisco Zoo

February 16, 2009 | 11:47 am

This baby gorilla was born December 8, 2008 at the San Francisco Zoo and now weighs 11.3 pounds. The Zoo is hand-rearing the infant gorilla and surrogate training another female gorilla after the birth mother did not show interest in the newborn.

The San Francisco Zoo welcomed a baby western lowland gorilla last December 8.  The baby, a male, was rejected by his mother, Monifa, shortly after his birth. 

Zoo staff are instead raising the baby themselves, even taking turns sleeping through the night with him in a double bed and bottle-feeding him.  Despite his somewhat inauspicious beginning, the zoo's head gorilla keeper, Corinne MacDonald, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the baby is "extremely confident, calm and amazing, and he's ahead of schedule."

The gorilla, now 2 months old, is still missing one thing: a name.  Susan Derby at the Daily Travel & Deal blog has the details on the zoo's baby-naming contest:

Contest: Think up a name and submit it online. Before you go bananas with brainstorming, note that the zoo’s preference is "a distinguished name of African origin."

Judges will select five finalists from the submissions received. Now this is where things get rascally: Each of the five names will be connected to a different-colored stick of bamboo, and these sticks will be placed in front of a silverback gorilla who goes by the name Oscar Jonesy. Mr. Jonesy will  pick the winner.

Anyone 5 years of age or older can enter.

The contest runs through March 5 and Mr. Jonesy (the baby's father) will choose the winning name on March 11.  The contest winner will receive a family membership to the zoo closest to them, a large plush gorilla, a framed photo of the baby gorilla with his footprint, and a half-hour question-and-answer session with one of the zoo's gorilla keepers.  Check out the zoo's website for more information.

More photos after the jump!

This baby gorilla was born December 8, 2008 at the San Francisco Zoo and now weighs 11.3 pounds. The Zoo is hand-rearing the infant gorilla and surrogate training another female gorilla after the birth mother did not show interest in the newborn.

This baby gorilla was born December 8, 2008 at the San Francisco Zoo and now weighs 11.3 pounds. The Zoo is hand-rearing the infant gorilla and surrogate training another female gorilla after the birth mother did not show interest in the newborn.

This baby gorilla was born December 8, 2008 at the San Francisco Zoo and now weighs 11.3 pounds. The Zoo is hand-rearing the infant gorilla and surrogate training another female gorilla after the birth mother did not show interest in the newborn.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photos: George Nikitin/Associated Press

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