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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Cataract op gorilla gives birth
Picture of Romina and her new baby
Romina and her new baby will go on public display at the zoo
A gorilla, who underwent a cataract operation after she was born blind, has given birth to a baby at Bristol Zoo.

Romina, a rare Western lowland gorilla, who has had two operations to restore her sight was the first adult gorilla to undergo such treatment in Europe.

Keepers at the zoo say the new baby, who weighed in at about two pounds, is doing well.

Melanie Gage, a keeper at Bristol Zoo, said: "The baby is beautiful. This is fantastic news."

They said they would have to wait several days before Romina, 25, will allow them close enough to determine the baby's sex.

Hand reared

Since her sight was restored Romina has been able to interact more effectively with other gorillas at the zoo and bred successfully with Jock a 22-year-old silverback.

Romina was hand-reared at Rome Zoo before arriving in Bristol in 2001 as part of an international breeding programme.

Western lowland gorillas are under threat in the swampy jungles of their native West Africa because of hunting by man and loss of their habitat.

Dr Jo Gipps, director of Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: "Forest destruction for logging and the terrible slaughter of primates for the illegal bush meat trade meant that lowland gorillas are facing serious losses in the wild."

She said Romina's baby represented hope for the long term conservation of the creatures. She said the first-time parents were coping well with their new offspring.

Romina and her new baby will now go on public display at the zoo.

See Romina the gorilla with her young baby

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