TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Baby gorilla thrives with human surrogates in Ohio

AP
This photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, shows a baby gorilla named Gladys being held by a surrogate human mother at the zoo in Cincinnati. The baby gorilla was born Jan. 29 at a Texas zoo to a first-time mother who wouldn't care for her. Zoo workers and volunteers are acting as surrogate mothers to prepare the baby to be introduced to two female gorillas at the Cincinnati Zoo who might accept her. Associated Press

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

By The Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 11:27 a.m.

CINCINNATI — A baby gorilla being raised temporarily by human surrogate parents is doing well — learning to roll over, sit up and getting ready to walk on all fours.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden primate specialists say “Gladys” is in good health, developing and growing quickly with loving care from 10 humans imitating a gorilla mom's behavior.

This week she began supporting herself on all fours.

“The next step, she'll be able to walk around by herself,” said Ron Evans, primate team leader.

Gladys also is teething and has begun eating some cooked foods, such as sweet potatoes and carrots, besides being bottle-fed five times a day.

“She's at the age now where she really starts growing by leaps and bounds,” Evans said.

She came to Cincinnati last month from Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, after she was born there Jan. 29 to a first-time mother who showed little maternal instinct. It was decided to move her to Cincinnati's zoo because of its extensive experience in raising gorilla babies and its availability of experienced gorilla mothers.

Human surrogates dress in black, wear furry vests and kneepads and make gorilla sounds to help prepare Gladys for the transition to a real gorilla family. They have been showing her to other gorillas and letting them touch her.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that zoo specialists think she will be ready within a few months, and there are four potential adoptive moms among their gorillas.

“The gorillas have to decide who this baby's mom is going to be,” Evans said.

“That will be the day that all this hard work pays off,” said primate keeper Ashley O'Connell, crawling around with the 9-pound gorilla riding on her back.

O'Connell just had her own first child five months ago.

“I feel like I'm the mother of two right now,” she said. “If I have to be away from my own child, this is where I want to be.”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Switch in pairings helps Penguins defensemen find groove in Game 3
  2. Penguins insider: Malkin found confidence in Game 3
  3. Kovacevic: No science to solving power play
  4. Husband to stand trial in Derry middle school teacher’s murder
  5. Pirates notebook: MLB metes out suspensions
  6. SCI-Pittsburgh inmate taken to AGH after ‘severe beating’
  7. ACC announces Pitt’s opponents for next 2 seasons; Powell signs with Dukes
  8. Preview of Wednesday’s Reds-Pirates game
  9. Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett wants candidate Wolf to release tax records
  10. Steelers pick up defensive end Heyward’s option for 2015 season
  11. Blue Jackets notebook: Columbus wants another crack at playing with lead
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.