A zoo in the US state of Pennsylvania had to call a team of obstetrics and gynaecology experts, surgeons and anaesthesiologists from local hospitals and institutions to help in the delivery of a baby gorilla.

According to reports, a 17-year-old gorilla, named Kira, at the Philadelphia Zoo was having issues during labour pain. Therefore, the zoo authorities decided to bring in the human medical specialists to assist in the birthing process.

"On Thursday, June 1, keeper staff noticed signs that Kira had begun labour, but as of Friday morning she had not delivered.

"She appeared to tire and behaved as if she were feeling worse over the course of the morning and there were no signs of the labour progressing. Typically, gorilla labour is quick and the mother does not appear tired, distressed, or show symptoms of feeling poorly," a statement from Philadelphia Zoo said.

A number of gorillas in the past have given caesarean section deliveries, but this was the first assisted vaginal delivery, officials at the zoo said and added that Kira delivered a healthy, happy baby boy that weighed in at exactly 5 pounds.

"It was an anxious and dramatic day at the zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one," Dr Andy Baker, the zoo's chief operating officer, said.

Kira, who is a western lowland gorilla, gave birth after a one and a half hour delivery and recovered the next morning. Since then, the first-time mother "has been continuously cradling and nursing" his baby boy, the zoo said.

"Though Kira is a first-time mom, we're not surprised she's acting like an expert already. She was a great older sister to younger siblings and has been very attentive while our other female gorilla Honi has raised baby Amani.

"Everybody is excited about these two future playmates," Baker added.

Baby gorilla
Kira, who is a western lowland gorilla, gave birth after one and a half hour delivery - Representational image REUTERS/Jim Young