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Zoo keepers hand rearing baby gorilla

By Rod Minchin, PA
·2-min read

An infant western lowland gorilla is being given round-the-clock care by keepers after his mother found it difficult to care for him.

The two-month-old male gorilla has not been feeding well and is not getting enough milk from his mother Kala, so keepers at Bristol Zoo took the decision to bottle feed him.

A small team of experienced keepers is now caring for him day and night for the next four months, after which it is hoped he will be ready to return to the rest of the group.

During the day, the baby gorilla is being looked after in the Gorilla House to allow plenty of opportunities for Kala and the other gorillas to see him, smell him and be near him, and ensure that he continues to be accepted as a familiar member of the gorilla family.

At night, the infant is being cared for by keepers in zoo-owned accommodation onsite.

Mammals curator Lynsey Bugg said: “Hand rearing any animal is not a decision we take lightly as our preference is always for an animal to be reared naturally by its own mother.

“Sadly this doesn’t always happen and in this instance we decided that it was in the baby gorilla’s best interests for us to hand rear him to ensure he had the best chance of survival.

“It’s really important for him that he remains a familiar member of the group, as well as being used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the gorillas.”

The male gorilla is being hand reared by keepers (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)
The male gorilla is being hand reared by keepers (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)

The youngster needs a name and the zoo is inviting members of the public to help choose.

The names to vote on are:

– Motuku: means chief of the village in Bubi

– Hasani: means handsome in Swahili

– Luango: town/city on the coast of Equatorial Guinea

– Kidosi: popular African name, particularly in Central Africa

To vote for a name, visit facebook.com/BristolZooGardens/