Grunting zoo workers go ape over baby

2013-03-04 21:49
Baby gorilla Gladys being held by a surrogate human mother at the zoo in Cincinnati. (David Jenike , AP/The Cincinnati Zoo)

Baby gorilla Gladys being held by a surrogate human mother at the zoo in Cincinnati. (David Jenike , AP/The Cincinnati Zoo)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cincinnati - Some zoo workers in the US are going ape over a baby gorilla.

They are wearing all-black outfits, grunting affectionately and generally imitating mother gorillas to help the month-old baby adjust to a new home and get ready for a surrogate mother.

Later, they will don hairy vests and carry baby Gladys on their backs and put on knee pads and gloves to move around like a gorilla.

They might knuckle-walk and climb a tree with baby on board.

They cuddle her, let her hang on them or squirm in their laps, lie down next to her and talk to her with different guttural sounds.

"Whatever a gorilla mom would do with her baby is what we have to do with this baby," said Ron Evans, the zoo's primate team leader and one of Gladys' human surrogates.

"Everything that we can do... obviously, I'm not producing milk."

He's heading a team of seven to 10 people who work in shifts of eight hours or so to provide the baby with 24-hour companionship.

She came from a zoo in Texas, where she was born 29 January to a first-time mother who showed little maternal instinct. Zoo employees bottle-fed and cared for her there.

The zoos agreed it was best to move her to Cincinnati, where two experienced mother gorillas are available to serve as surrogates.

Evans said the Columbus Zoo in Ohio has been a global pioneer in taking gorilla babies in need of surrogates from other zoos, but this is a first for Cincinnati.

Zoo employees want to be careful, and they have a four- to five-month transition period to make sure that the baby is healthy and will be able to socialise and be accepted within its population of eight other gorillas.

"We don't want to move too fast with her, where we stress out the baby," Evans said. "It's going to be a gradual process."

A suite has been set up for Gladys and the human surrogates within view, hearing and smell of the other gorillas. Evans said that so far, they have responded hospitably.

"Babies have a calming effect on a gorilla community," he said. "The two females were just fixated on that baby."

Zoo spokesperson Tiffany Barnes said the surrogate effort has drawn wide interest, with thousands of e-mails and social media responses.

"At this point, we aren't in need of volunteers, as we are using zoo staff members who have ape behaviour knowledge and experience," she said.

"That being said, if we ever needed volunteers, we know we don't have to look far."


- AP
Read more on:    us  |  animals  |  conservation
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 ways to drive her wild!

Fill her nights with passion and drive her wild with the best sex ever!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Angela
10 things you should never say after sex
Guy code: Looking good for the ladies
SA surfer rides massive waves in Maui

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The fixed energy of the Scorpio Moon can make it hard to compromise today. If you set your mind on something you tend to get quite...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.