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Last Updated: Friday, 22 December 2006, 00:06 GMT
Fertility treatment aids gorilla
Salome and baby
Both Salome and her new baby are said to be doing well
A western lowland gorilla has given birth to a healthy baby following a course of ground-breaking fertility treatment at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The baby, as yet unnamed or sexed, was born on 15 December by natural birth and was suckling well, a spokesman for the zoo said.

It is nearly 20 years since the mother, Salome, gave birth to her first baby.

Salome was given a fertility drug used by women after it was discovered she had not been ovulating.

Keepers have been carefully monitoring both the 30-year-old mother and baby to ensure everything is well.

Mel Gage, of Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: "This is such a great end to the year.

Being able to treat female gorillas with human fertility drugs is potentially a very important breakthrough
Dr Bryan Carroll

"The new baby is incredibly cute and Salome is being a very attentive mum and father Jock is being very protective of his family troop. We couldn't have hoped for more."

After researching various fertility treatments, the zoo contacted gynaecologist David Cahill, Senior Consultant Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Bristol University.

Following discussions and advice the zoo said it decided to use clomifene, a common fertility drug used by women, to "kick start" Salome's ovulation.

Dr Bryan Carroll, deputy director of the zoo said: "Being able to treat female gorillas with human fertility drugs is potentially a very important breakthrough."

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