LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kindi, the Louisville Zoo's orphaned gorilla turned 1 on Tuesday.
Kindi was born via an emergency cesarean section on March 14, 2016. She weighed just 3.5 pounds. Her mother, Mia Moja, passed away the next day from complications. Gorilla Forest keepers spent months diligently caring for Kindi acting as surrogate mothers teaching her how to be a gorilla.
Keepers would wear furry vests that provided a gorilla feel and something to grip as infant gorillas hang on to their mothers for transport, they also mimicked gorilla movements and vocalizations and bottle fed Kindi. Kindi was paired with gorilla surrogate Kweli once the young gorilla met certain milestones. The two have been together since August 2016.
"I find it so amazing that she is so well adjusted and so healthy and she plays and she rides on Kweli's back. She is Kweli's baby," said Animal Curator Jill Katka.
Kindi is currently 14 pounds and could likely grow to be around 200 pounds. She will mature at 10 years old.
In addition to Tuesday's private birthday bash, a public party was also held so some of Kindi's biggest fans could celebrate her special day.
Another party for Kindi will be held on Saturday at the Louisville Zoo.