Animal Rights

Rare Photos Of Gorilla Mom Nursing Twins

| by Zara Zhi
Isaro holds her twinsIsaro holds her twins

Trackers witnessed an astonishing sight when they reportedly found Isaro, a 16-year-old mountain gorilla, nursing her baby twins.

African gorillas have been poached to near extinction, and there are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, according to The Dodo. Isaro is one of the 480 mountain gorillas who reside in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, and she is the mother of four gorillas, including two baby twins, one 3-year-old and one 6-year-old.

In January, trackers with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, an organization dedicated to observing the gorillas, were delighted to discover Isaro had given birth to twins -- a rare occurrence among mountain gorillas, according to the organization's April 4 press release. 

Most gorillas are very reclusive and shy away from showing humans a glimpse of their lives, which makes Isaro’s story special.

"I couldn’t believe my eyes because since I started working with the Fossey Fund in 2009, I had never experienced such an amazing event in the gorilla groups we monitor," research assistant Didier Abavandimwe said in a statement in the press release.

Though months have passed since the rare sighting, the trackers were able to capture the momentous occasion with some amazing photos.

Isaro has kept the babies close to her chest, and the group notes that gorilla mothers don’t take kindly to prying hands. They usually don’t let other members of their group help until the babies are at least 1 year old.

According to the Fossey Fund, "roughly 25 percent of single infants die during their first year of life." Gorillas tend to produce between two and six children over the course of their entire lives. Twins are particularly rare and the group noted that Isaro’s twins are only the third set of surviving twins among the entire mountain gorilla population.

"The birth of the twins is a gift in many ways," Veronica Vecellio, manager of the Gorilla Program at the Fossey Fund, explained. "First for the pure beauty of nature, but also to remind us how vulnerable and precious gorillas are by just looking at the dedication of Isaro, thriving in such a severe environment with two babies to take care of."

Sources: The Dodo, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International / Photo credit: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

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