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Virile guest gorilla sparks baby boom at zoo

/ Source: The Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — For zookeepers here, Akili turned out to be the gorilla their dreams.

The Artis Zoo tried to mate their female gorillas with two other males, but wasn't having much luck in producing offspring.

So they turned to Akili, a gorilla from a German safari park. The result was the first birth at the zoo in 10 years.

Akili arrived in September 2005 and quickly impregnated Binti, who gave birth Tuesday, as well as two other females, Dafina and Shindy.

"We tried earlier with two other males but both of them couldn't do it, couldn't perform," said zoo spokesman Bart Kret. "Gorillas have a low sex drive, low sperm count, and often something goes wrong."

Binti's baby
The baby has not yet been named. The zookeepers aren't sure of its gender yet because Binti "is keeping the baby very close to her and we don't want to disturb that," Kret said.

The baby appears to be "very heavy and hairy, with very thick arms," he said.

Dafina and Shindy are both due in late summer, he said.

Gorillas are an endangered species in Africa, but births in captivity are not rare: Binti was born in another Dutch zoo, while Akili was born in Frankfurt and lived at the safari park in Hodenhagen, Germany, before his move to the Netherlands.