Baby gorilla thrives with human surrogates

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Primate Team Leader Ron Evans works on paperwork as 2 month-old "Gladys", a Western Lowland Gorilla sleeps on his back, on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Glenn Hartong)
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Primate Team Leader Ron Evans works on paperwork as 2 month-old “Gladys”, a Western Lowland Gorilla sleeps on his back, on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Glenn Hartong)

From Komo News:

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 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.

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