Humans Raise Baby Gorilla

Gladys poised for stardom at Cincinnati Zoo

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 28, 2013 3:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – Meet the new zoo superstar: Gladys the baby gorilla. When the 8-week-old western lowland gorilla's mother seemed uninterested in raising her, zookeepers took matters into their own hands, reports AP. Gladys was sent from her home zoo in Texas to the Cincinnati Zoo, where the staff has extensive experience raising gorillas. There, a team of 10 loving humans has been raising Gladys as an attentive gorilla mom would, wearing furry vests and kneepads and making gorilla sounds so she'll be prepared to eventually transition to a surrogate family of actual gorillas.

"She's at the age now where she really starts growing by leaps and bounds," the zoo's primate leader tells the Cincinnati Enquirer. She's also mimicking gorilla behavior, like sleeping while clinging to zookeepers' backs. The human upbringing angle is getting Gladys plenty of attention—Good Morning America aired a piece on her today—and the Enquirer predicts her star will keep rising. Gladys is "a real charmer," says the story. "That little girl makes great eye contact."

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden staffer Ron Evans works with 2-month-old "Gladys," a western lowland gorilla.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Glenn Hartong)
ABC News reporter Matt Guttman and the zoo's Ron Evans watch as primate keeper Ashley O'Connell carries Gladys.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Glenn Hartong)
Cincinnati Zoo's Ron Evans works on paperwork as 2-month-old Gladys sleeps on his back.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Glenn Hartong)
The zoo's Ron Evans works with Gladys.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Zoo/David Jenike)
Gladys, the zoo's new all-star.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Glenn Hartong)
Cincinnati Zoo's Ashley O'Connell holds Gladys.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Glenn Hartong)
The zoo's Ron Evans lays with baby gorilla Gladys.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Zoo/David Jenike)
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