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Baby gorilla rejected by mother is hand-reared by Bristol zookeepers


The unnamed gorilla was rejected by his mum (Picture: Bristol Zoo / SWNS)

A baby gorilla who was rejected by his mother is now being bottle-fed and looked after by keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The as-yet unnamed gorilla was born two months ago, but his mum Kala was finding looking after him too challenging.

The gorilla was not getting enough milk from Kala so a small team of keepers is now caring for him and bottle feeding him day and night.

This will continue 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.

Lynsey Bugg, Mammals Curator at Bristol Zoo Gardens, 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.

The baby’s mum wasn’t producing enough milk (Picture: Bristol Zoo / SWNS)

‘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.’

Lynsey said keepers would do their best to treat him like a gorilla mum would, expecting him to hold on tight and making gorilla vocalisations to make reintroduction into the group as easy for him as possible.

He will still be socialised with the group so he can reintegrate once he’s weaned (Picture: Bristol Zoo / SWNS)

She added: ‘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.’

Now the youngster needs a name and the Zoo is inviting members of the public to help choose.

What would you name this sweetheart? (Credits: Bristol Zoo / SWNS)

Keepers have drawn up a shortlist of names and the Zoo is running a naming poll on its Facebook page from today. The names to vote on are:

  • Motuku – means ‘Chief of the Village’ in Bubi (local language in Equatorial Guinea)
  • 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 your favourite name, visit the Bristol Zoo Gardens Facebook.

And no Gorilla McGorillaface please.

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