Yewande, a 12-year-old western lowland gorilla at the Calgary Zoo, is expected to give birth in May. (image: Calgary Zoo)

The Calgary Zoo is preparing to welcome a baby western lowland gorilla this spring.

The zoo announced 12-year-old Yewande is expecting with an early May due date.

"We are cautiously optimistic as this is Yewande’s first baby," said Jamie Dorgan, director of animal care, in a statement released Monday. "This marks the first gorilla baby in the troop since Kimani’s birth in 2016 and the Calgary Zoo’s new male silverback, Jasiri’s, first offspring."

According to zoo officials, extensive training is underway with the expectant mother to ensure she will be comfortable when the baby arrives.

"There are lots of challenges ahead of us to help Yewande successfully deliver a healthy baby and navigate troop family dynamics, but the animal care team will be helping her every moment along the way."

The veterinary team will not directly intervene with the birth unless there's reason to believe the baby's health and well-being is compromised.

Ultrasound of the western lowland gorilla expected to arrive at the Calgary Zoo in May. (image: Calgary Zoo)