A baby gorilla being raised by humans has become something of a celebrity at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The little gorilla is being raised by a group of 10 humans who are imitating the behavior of a mother gorilla. They’re taking over for her real mother, who gave birth to little Gladys at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownville, Texas, back in January but failed to show a maternal instinct.
The baby gorilla being raised by humans is hitting all of her milestones, just like a real baby — rolling over, sitting up, and getting ready to crawl.
“The next step, she’ll be able to walk around by herself,” said Ron Evans, primate team leader.
She’s also being moved onto some solid foods, including sweet potatoes and carrots, but still gets about five bottles a day.
The humans raising the gorilla go to great lengths to make her think it’s her gorilla mom doing the work. They wear black, furry vests and kneepads and even mimic gorilla sounds as they’re caring for her, preparing her to transition into a real gorilla family.
“The older (Gladys) gets … the more she will imprint on people, the harder it will be to make that transfer,” Evans said. “So the younger, the better.”
The human team raising the gorilla have been making the gradual transition for Gladys into a real gorilla family. They have been regularly showing her to other gorillas, who have been able to reach in and gently touch the baby on the head and back. The surrogates also have a few candidates picked out to raise Gladys once her transition is made.
The baby gorilla raised by humans has become quite a celebrity. The 8-week-old western lowland gorilla has been getting attention from national print and television media, with ABC News, Good Morning America, and World News with Diane Sawyer all filming segments early this week. CBS This Morning and Inside Edition came later in the week.