Bristol zookeepers are feeding this adorable baby gorilla by hand

Barney Davis
·2-min read

A baby gorilla is being hand-reared by zookeepers after his mother found it difficult to care for him.

The adorable ape, born in August to his mother Kala, has struggled to feed, so keepers at Bristol Zoo have been forced to bottle feed him to ensure his survival.

A squad of experienced keepers are giving him round-the-clock care for the next four months until the as yet unnamed primate is ready to rejoin the family.

During the day, the baby western lowland gorilla is being looked after in the zoo's Gorilla House , allowing Kala, 9, and the other gorillas to see, smell and be near him to ensure he is not rejected by the family.

At night, the infant is cared for by keepers in homes built onsite. While the Gorilla House is open as normal, the baby gorilla is being kept away from public view.

Mammals curator Lynsey Bugg said: "Hand rearing any animal is not a decision we take lightly as our preference is always for an animal to be reared naturally by its own mother.

"Sadly this doesn't always happen and in this instance we decided that it was in the baby gorilla's best interests for us to hand rear him to ensure he had the best chance of survival.

"It's really important for him that he remains a familiar member of the group, as well as being used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the gorillas."

Kala, who was moved to Bristol Zoo from Germany in 2018, gave birth naturally on August 19.

The western lowland gorilla is the most numerous and widespread of all gorilla subspecies from the west coast of Africa.

Because of poaching and disease, the gorilla’s numbers have declined by more than 60 per cent over the last 20 to 25 years.

The toddler is yet to be named and the zoo is inviting members of the public to help choose. To vote for a name, visit Facebook.

Last month a Lousiana zoo held a baby shower for a pregnant gorilla.