Cincinnati Zoo turns humans into temporary gorilla moms

CINCINNATI - Over the next few months, the Cincinnati Zoo will use human surrogates to mimic gorilla behavior.

The goal is to get a 4-week-old gorilla baby in the hands of a gorilla surrogate.

The human surrogates will feed the gorilla, hold 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 will climb on things and knuckle-walk like a gorilla to teach the baby.

They will wear all black scrubs during their shifts and cover themselves with a furry vest – handmade by a Cincinnati Zoo volunteer.

The surrogates will also vocalize like a gorilla and a host of other skills that most people never even consider.

"This will certainly be a labor of love," said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo in a press release Tuesday. "We will have a surrogacy team, made up of 7-10 staff members, who will be hand-rearing the infant 24/7 until we can safely introduce her to a gorilla surrogate mom. This is such a huge responsibility and privilege and we are honored to be doing our part."

Using human surrogates as gorilla moms is a first for the Cincinnati Zoo.

Print this article Back to Top