Baby Gorilla Clings to Humans After Mother Rejects Her

Baby gorilla finds new home at Cincinnati Zoo after mother rejects her.

ByABC News
September 24, 2014, 9:42 AM

— -- Two zoos are joining forces, working to find this adorable baby gorilla a new mom.

The 5-week-old girl named Kamina was rejected by her mother, Ndjole, immediately after being born on Aug. 16 at the Oklahoma City Zoo, leaving her life at risk.

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The staff of the Oklahoma City Zoo instantly jumped into action, caring for Kamina around the clock, holding her tiny hand and even wearing gorilla-like shirts made of felt for the newborn to clutch, but realizing it wouldn’t be enough, they turned to another zoo for help.

“We just don’t have a situation here where we have a surrogate gorilla available to take Kamina, so that’s when we contacted Cincinnati Zoo,” Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino, Director of Veterinary Services for the Oklahoma City Zoo, told ABC News.

The Cincinnati Zoo recently found a surrogate for another gorilla and happily agreed to help Kamina find one, too-- flying her on her own private plane Monday as she snuggled into a blanket of faux-fur for the four-hour flight across the Midwest to her new home in Cincinnati.

“It’s a great example of how zoos want to cooperate and do what’s best,” said Ron Evans, curator of primates for the Cincinnati Zoo.

Kamina will spend three months with human surrogates who dress up like gorillas and mimic the actions of a mother, a process which Evans calls "gorillafication,” before she is introduced to others.

ABC News’ Matt Gutman experienced this first-hand last year with a fragile baby girl named Gladys who was also rejected by her mother.

"I always use a gorilla accent when I talk to Gladys," Evans told Gutman at the time, as he belted out what zoologists call belch vocalizations, akin to cooing for gorillas.

Gladys was immediately adopted by a 31-year-old surrogate named M’Linzi. The zoo is now hoping she will adopt Kamina,too, making these two gorgeous gorilla sisters.