Baby gorilla has pneumonia

A baby gorilla at San Diego Zoo Safari Park is battling pneumonia, and being watched 24 hours a day in the ICU unit of the park's hospital. (Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Global / March 17, 2014)

 

SAN DIEGO -- A baby gorilla that was born last week at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in a rare caesarean-section and then underwent emergency surgery for a collapsed lung is battling a new problem: pneumonia.

The gorilla is being watched and cared for around-the-clock in the ICU unit at the park hospital.

"It's not really clear if it [pneumonia] occurred just prior to birth or immediately following birth, but it's definitely pneumonia and a lot of the conditions that we've been managing since then are all related to pneumonia," said Nadine Lamberski, veterinarian and associate director of veterinary services at the park.

Meanwhile, the baby's mother, Imani, is back with other gorillas. This was her first baby; at 18, Imani was considered old for a first-time mother.

Veterinarians decided on C-section when Imani was in distress during labor and the baby was stuck in the birth canal.

The birth was Wednesday night. On Friday, the baby underwent emergency surgery for a collapsed lung.

The baby, a female, is being cared for by veterinary staff and neonatal specialists from UC San Diego Health System.

Safari Park has eight gorillas, including the new baby.

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tony.perry@latimes.com