AP Photo

(Photo courtesy of Bristol Zoo Gardens)

With a little help from clomifene (a drug that women have been using to aid in ovulation), Salome, a western lowland gorilla, carried a baby to term and gave birth on December 15th. The 30-year-old gorilla from the Bristol Zoo was mating, just not successfully conceiving. Veterinarians reported that she had a diminished ovarian reserve and after gynecological consults, Salome was given a drug to stimulate ovulation. Three months later she became pregnant.

Bristol Zoo deputy director, Dr. Bryan Carroll reported that,

“Female gorillas, like their human counterparts, find conceiving more difficult as they get older, so zoos may now be able to give some of their important breeders a helping hand. Being able to treat female gorillas with human fertility drugs is potentially a very important breakthrough.”

It will be interesting to see where this goes and what debates, if any, it sparks in zoo science over the next few years.