Baby Gorilla Recovering After 'Family Skirmish' Injury

by scrosby on April 2, 2010

by Stephanie Crosby

The new baby gorilla at the Louisville Zoo is under 24-hour watch by zookeepers after losing her left leg below the knee in what keepers are calling a family altercation.

Original reports yesterday said the baby had been injured by its father, Mshindi. But today Zoo Director John Walczak says there were two other adult gorillas in the area, the baby’s mother, Mia Moja, and another adult – and no one knows what happened.

“When these skirmishes such as this happen, it happens in the blink of en eye, it might take less than a quick minute for it all to happen,” says Walczak. “The male might be involved, but like our situation, we’re still trying to determine the role of the male, the aunt and the mom in this interaction.”

Walczak says they’ve been consulting with a gorilla behavior specialist who says incidents like this are rare, but they have happened before both in the wild and in captivity. All three adults are currently separated and the baby is with her mother.

The unnamed infant is still considered in critical condition, but has shown signs of improvement.

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Earl Jewell April 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I was viewing the gorilla’s the morning this happened. They are exactly correct when they say it happens suddenly. This went from peaceful and serene to crazy in about 15 seconds. Zoo personnel were trying to get quick control of the situation while calmly escorting everyone out of the gorilla viewing area. My compliments to the Zoo Staff for their dedication to both their visitors as well as the animals. My thoughts and prayers are with the baby and all of the Louisville Zoo Staff.

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