A two-day-old gorilla born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park through emergency C-section was admitted to the park's hospital on Friday to treat a collapsed lung, soon after the animal experienced increased respiratory pain.
The gorilla has been monitored by vets round-the-clock since her birth. They noticed that the baby animal's heart rate was elevated and that it was breathing fast. A chest X-ray conducted by veterinarians confirmed that it had a collapsed lung.
On Friday, the operation was performed by a team of vets along with animal care specialists. They were joined by a neonatal specialist and anaesthesiologist from the University of California, San Diego Health System, also joined them.
The gorilla was intubated carefully and a mucus plug was suctioned out of her right lung. Vets believe that the problem originated at the time of the animal's complicated delivery. They now conclude that the surgery was a success.
Her breathing tube was removed after waking up from anesthesia and she was placed on nasal cannula with oxygen for constant respiratory support.
The animal is still in intensive care and is constantly monitored, according to park officials. They confirm that the she has started breathing on her own, but is still getting oxygen and fluids when needed.
Though C-sections are quite common in human births, it is rare in the animal kingdom.
That's why San Diego Zoo Safari Park officials are touting the birth of this new gorilla courtesy the emergency C-section.
The baby gorilla was born when her 18-year-old mother Imani experienced labor but didn't show any signs of progress until evening, which led the staff to shift her to the Safari Park veterinary hospital.
"In retrospect the C-section was the right decision. We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer," said Nadine Lamberski, the park's Associate Director of Veterinary Services.
The mother is recovering from surgery. Keepers will continue to monitor her as well, officials confirmed.
Watch the baby gorilla's birth via C-section: