The two-week-old female is the first addition to the group of gorillas living in the Dja Reserve pavilion. At the same time, she is also the granddaughter of the legendary gorilla Moji. She became the first ever bred gorilla in the Czech Republic, and her story can thus continue thanks to the new cub. Photo by Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo

The baby lowland gorilla, which was born at the Prague Zoo on January 2, Duni, is a female. The director of the Prague Zoo, Miroslav Bobek, told media representatives. The gender was determined based on a special blood test performed at the Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine.

The public will now have the opportunity to choose a name for the cub from ten suggestions made by children from the area of the real Dja Biosphere Reserve in Cameroon, Central Africa.

“Yes, it’s a female!” said the director of the Prague Zoo, Miroslav Bobek. “And a lot of people were clear about that even before our announcement today. When I did two polls on different social networks about the gender of the baby gorilla, both came out roughly 2:1 in favor of female. The discussion posts also showed a firm belief that it was a female. Father’s Wish Thoughts? Perhaps. But I do not think that. I’m sure some people just recognized it. The little gorilla’s face has ‘girlish’ features that many of us perceive, even if only subconsciously. It wouldn’t be surprising. Gorillas are perhaps extremely close to us in all respects. As I say, they’re just slightly different people.’

The gender was confirmed based on a special examination in which DNA was isolated from the umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord.

“First, we isolated DNA from the placenta and umbilical cord. Here, we subsequently exposed the polymerase chain reaction with special primers, that is, with the help of those primers, we amplified the section located on the Y chromosome, which carries a gene called SRY – it determines the male sex,” explains Professor Jiří Rubeš from the Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine in Brno. “We then used the DNA for gel electrophoresis, which determined whether the gene was there or not.

Prague Zoo decided to reach out to children from the area of the real Dja Biosphere Reserve in Central African Cameroon, who participated in the Roaming Bus project, to come up with name suggestions for the female gorilla. The public will then choose the final name from them. Photo by Oliver Le Que, Prague Zoo

So when we discovered the absence of this gene, it was clear that it was a female. In the case of his presence, on the other hand, the cub would be male.”

With the knowledge of the gender, nothing stands in the way of choosing a name for the baby. Prague Zoo asked children who live in the vicinity of the Dja Biosphere Reserve in Cameroon, where the zoo has been running the educational project Wandering Bus for over 10 years. These children took a trip on the Wandering Bus and thus became guardians of the gorillas and the entire ecosystem there.

Starting tomorrow (19.1.2024), the Czech public can choose the winner of the poll from ten proposals in the local Badjoué dialect on the website

“The little female gorilla is not only the result of the great work of the breeders at the Prague Zoo, but also the decision to build a new pavilion at the Reserve Dja. Without him, it would not be possible to continue breeding these critically endangered primates, and for a long time the only group of gorillas in the whole of the Czech Republic would live without the possibility of breeding. Everything went smoothly and now we are looking forward not only to the granddaughter of the iconic Moja, but also to the next cub that will be born in the spring,” said in her speech the deputy mayor of the City of Prague for the environment Jana Komrsková.

The baby gorilla is enjoying good health and her mother Duni is increasingly allowing other members of the group to approach the cub, especially the female Kijiva. The seven-year-old male Ajabu continues to be the most curious member. He regularly sits with Duni and the cub and tries to establish contact with him. People can watch these interactions from the comfort of a large auditorium in the warmth of the pavilion. The best time is when feeding around 10 a.m. and then again after 3 p.m.