'Gorillafication' in sight for abandoned baby primate at Ohio zoo

Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:13pm EST
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By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - Zookeepers wearing gorilla suits have helped rear an endangered abandoned baby gorilla in Ohio so she can join an adult group.

The 16 human surrogates have spent three months feeding, nurturing and gently introducing the baby, Kamina, to adult female gorillas, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden said on Saturday.

Kamina, a Western lowland gorilla, came to Cincinnati for "gorillafication" after her mother, Ndjole, stopped caring for her shortly after she was born in August in Oklahoma City Zoo.

And now, at four-months-old, she is ready to be moved to Columbus Zoo, where 14 surrogate gorilla infants have been successfully introduced to adult female gorillas.

Cincinnati had tried Kamina with two of its own adult females, including one called Samantha, but with no luck.

"For whatever reason, Samantha simply did not desire to pick her up and even pushed Kamina away at times," said Ron Evans, curator of primates at Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoo officials said they had not finalized details for her move to Columbus, where she is expected to be introduced to a gorilla group.

Western lowland gorillas living in Africa are an endangered species due to logging, mining and agricultural expansion, according to the Cincinnati Zoo.

(Editing by Alison Williams)