Surrogate mother wanted for orphaned baby gorilla

Friday, June 3, 2016
Zookeepers care for baby gorilla whose mother died
These humans are working to teach Kindi how to become a healthy adult gorilla

LOUISVILLE, KY -- It's not hard to fall in love with Kindi, and it's love that she needs.

The baby gorilla is getting around the clock care after her mother died the day after giving birth to Kindi at the Louisville Zoo.

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"It's really cute," says zoo goer Hanna Jenkins. "It's just so cute!"

At three months old and 6.5 pounds, Kindi is reaching new milestones. Her first two teeth have come in, and she's growing leaps and bounds every day, Jill Katka says, assistant mammal curator at the Louisville Zoo.

Yet, without her real mother, Kindi's human keepers are having to play gorilla to ensure the tot matures into a healthy adult.

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Caretakers are wearing furry vests while carrying for Kindi, and helping her to explore her environment.

She's trying new foods, crawling around, going for piggyback rides and is even speaking gorilla with her temporary surrogate human mothers.

Did you know gorillas purr? When Kindi becomes anxious, her caretakers say she makes duck lip faces and lets out a distinct sound.

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At some point, Kindi is going to need to socialize with a real gorilla mother. Surrogates are working to join the baby with one of two potential maternal figures, Paki and Kweli.

Zoo workers say Paki is showing interest, but it will take some time before they can see if their union as mother and adopted child will work.

Since neither gorilla is lactating, Kindi is currently being bottle fed every three hours. In time, she'll be able to bond with her new gorilla mom, who show Kindi how to be a real gorilla.

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