These days, Cesarean births are more common than ever. In fact, recent studies show that about one in three Americans is now born via C-section.
However, C-sections aren’t just for humans anymore.
Although it is still extremely rare, the Cesarean medical procedure is now being used to save animal lives as well.
One amazing example of this is the case of Imani, a female gorilla that gave birth to a baby gorilla named Joanne via C-section back in 2014 in the San Diego Zoo.
Imani was 18-months-old at the time, and very pregnant.
After being in labor for over 12 hours, the zoo veterinarians decided that they had to do something. In an interview with ABC News, zoo spokeswoman Christina Simmons elaborated:
“With gorillas, that’s very unusual. Four hours is long for them,” Simmons said.
They made the decision to perform an emergency C-section on the young mother. It was a big deal as, among gorillas, Cesarean births are extremely rare. There has only really been a handful throughout history.
After sedating Imani, they transported her to the zoo’s veterinary hospital where they carefully completed the risky procedure.
Eventually, the baby gorilla, Joanne, was successfully delivered, weighing in at 4.6 pounds.
For a gorilla baby, that’s definitely on the heavy side.
“The tiny infants only weigh a few pounds at birth, and the mother is generally over 200 pounds, so the births are quick and easy,” a statement on the zoo’s website read.
Although we definitely wouldn’t call what Imani went through “quick and easy”, after the surgery she seemed to be doing good, all things considered.
“She’s doing well this morning,” said Simmons, adding that Imani is still resting and recovering from the surgery. “We have another gorilla spending time with her so that she has company.”
When the mother and daughter are finally reunited a few weeks later, it is an absolutely heartwarming moment.
The zoo captured the moment on video, and you can really see how happy they are to finally see each other again after the recovery period.
Unfortunately, the weeks that followed didn’t go that great for baby Joanne. According to a news story from NBC, after her birth, she caught pneumonia and was treated for a collapsed lung.
For the next several months, she had a long and difficult path ahead of her.
However, with the dedicated help of the zookeepers, Joanne was eventually able to make a full recovery and rejoin her mother Imani.
She now lives with Imani and the rest of the gorilla troop in the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.
If it wasn’t for the veterinarians’ careful work with the C-section that remarkable day back in 2014, who knows what would have happened to the pair. Thanks to them, Imani and Joanne can now both live out their lives healthy and happy.
Watch the video below for the full story on the amazing emergency C-section.
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