After an emergency Cesarean section, a 27-year-old gorilla died at the Louisville Zoo.
Mia Moja gave birth on Monday, three weeks premature, according to a press release by the Louisville Zoo.
Emergency C-sections are rarely performed on gorillas, but a Louisville Zoo veterinarian that assisted in the procedure said in a press release that Mia was experiencing unusual bleeding.
"Her condition was considered life-threatening, and an emergency Cesarean section was elected for the good of the mom and the baby," it said.
Mia Moja passed away from complications, but the zoo has yet to determine the exact cause of death. The Louisville Zoo plans to perform a full postmortem examination on the gorilla.
The baby gorilla was also in critical condition at birth, but was born almost the same size as a baby gorilla at full term. She was monitored overnight and is currently in stable condition.
“It has been a very tough 24 hours for us. Welcoming a new baby is always exciting, but losing Mia is heartbreaking," Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak said. "These life events are even more impactful and extraordinary when we are talking about endangered species."
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The Louisville Zoo reports that Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered due to habitat destruction. There are fewer than 100,000 gorillas of the species currently living in the wild.
Only a handful of emergency C-sections have ever been performed on gorillas. The most recent was performed on Kera the Western lowland gorilla in the Bristol Zoo in the U.K.