Baby gorilla at Louisville Zoo is looking for a surrogate gorilla mom
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One of the most popular animals at the Louisville Zoo is growing and doing great.
Kindi, a baby gorilla, is almost 3 months old, weighs 6 1/2 pounds and has two teeth.
Zoo officials have been giving her around-the-clock care after her mother, Mia Moja, died shortly after childbirth.
Kindi was born via emergency Cesarean section on March 14. Her father is Mshindi, a silverback.
Jill Katka is the assistant mammal curator at the Louisville Zoo. She, along with other staff members, are with Kindi 24 hours a day, seven days a week, teaching her what it means to be a gorilla just like her mother would have.
"We never put her down," Katka said. "We wear a furry vest all the time and we're trying to have her learn what it's like to be a gorilla."
Kindi is exploring her environment in the Gorilla Forrest at the Louisville Zoo. She's trying new food, crawling, back-riding and speaking gorilla with her temporary surrogate human moms.
"Gorillas have a real soothing sound that we call a purr," Katka said.
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Since Kindi can't be with humans for her entire life, the Zoo is working on finding her a real gorilla mom. Two potential surrogates are Paki and Kweli. Paki, according to Katka, has shown the most interest.
"Paki will get so excited she'll pat her chest," Katka said. "She will push food through the mesh that she's eating."
Kindi takes a bottle every three hours. Even after she adapts to her gorilla mom her bond to her human surrogates will still be critical, according to Katka.
"Kindi needs to be able to crawl to the mesh to us to get a bottle because, neither of our females are lactating now," Katka said.
The next few months the staff will be keeping a close eye on Kindi's relationships with Paki and Kweli, to see if one will take on a new mother role. If not, Kindi would have to be sent to another zoo in search of another surrogate.
The Louisville Zoo is hopeful she will stay there. You can visit Kindi from noon until 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at the Zoo.
To learn more about Kindi's journey click here.
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