CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has named its newest member, a 4-week-old female gorilla.
The baby gorilla was named Gladys Stones as a way to pay homage to the animals former home, the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. She was also given the name "Stones" after the Stones family who cared for her before her arrival in the Tri-State, zoo officials say.
Gladys was born on Jan. 29 at GPZ where she was hand-reared by zookeepers because her mother displayed a lack of maternal care, according to a press release. Her mother, 14-year-old Kiazi, is on a breeding loan transfer from the Cincinnati Zoo.
"Jerry and Cindy Stones, of the Gladys Porter Zoo, deserve all the recognition in the world for how quickly they swooped in and rescued Gladys," said Ron Evans, Primate Center Team Leader at the Cincinnati Zoo in a release. "Without their around the clock care and attention, I'm not sure she would still be here today. It was hard for them to see her go, and took a lot of love for them to say goodbye, and we wanted to acknowledge that."
Zoo officials at GPZ and the Cincinnati Zoo agreed the baby would be transferred to Cincinnati where two female gorillas can serve as potential surrogate mothers. Officials say the baby's introduction process to a new gorilla troop will be gradual to ensure a favorable integration.
Over the next few months, the Cincinnati Zoo will use human surrogates to mimic gorilla behavior in order for the baby to adjust to the gorilla surrogates.
The human surrogates are providing the gorilla with 24/7 care and working 8-hour shifts at the Gorilla Baby Suite, according to a release. The staff is holding the baby up to their chest and eventually carry her on their back like a real gorilla mother, according to a press release.
The surrogates climb on things and knuckle-walk like a gorilla to teach the baby. They wear all black scrubs during their shifts and cover themselves with a furry vest that is handmade by a Cincinnati Zoo volunteer.
The surrogates also vocalize like a gorilla and a host of other skills that most people never even consider.