For the first time, they were able to get a peek at 2-day-old Moke, a newborn male western lowland gorilla.
Moke, born to mother Calaya and father Baraka, is the first western lowland gorilla born at the zoo in nine years. The zoo said he was born at 6:25 p.m. Sunday.
"Animal care staff have observed Calaya nursing the infant who has been clinging closely to his mother, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive," the zoo said in a news release Monday.
The name "Moke" means "junior" or "little one" in Lingala, according to the zoo.
Before Moke was born, zookeepers said they helped Calaya every step of the way. They even fed her by hand as they performed ultrasounds.
Because zookeepers can never be sure if a gorilla's maternal nature will kick right in, the staff prepared Calaya for her new little bundle of joy by showing her photographs of baby gorillas and giving her a stuffed gorilla as well.
"The primate team’s goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother. Doing so required great patience and dedication on the part of my team, and I am very proud of them and Calaya," Meredith Bastian, the zoo's curator of primates, said in the release.
Yet, when it was time, Calaya lifted Moke right into her arms and gave the baby a kiss.
The zoo told ABC News that both mother and baby are doing well.
"The birth of this western lowland gorilla is very special and significant, not only to our zoo family but also to this critically endangered species as a whole," Bastian said.
There are fewer than 200,000 western lowland gorillas left in the world.