by Stephanie Crosby
The baby gorilla who was severely injured at the Louisville Zoo in April is recovering well but she must be moved to a zoo in Ohio to complete her recovery. Recently named Misha, the three-month-old suffered serious injuries, including the amputation of part of her left leg, in a family skirmish in the Gorilla Forest.
Curator Steve Wing says she wasn’t recovering well while still in her mother’s care, so they had to hand-raise the baby. That decision has led to another problem.
“Once we did that, her mother’s milk would dry up,” says Wing. “So we started looking at our options, and the best option for her to grow up to be a gorilla and know how to act and react to gorilla society would be for her to be raised by gorillas.”
Wing says Misha will be moved to the Columbus Zoo, which has developed an extensive gorilla surrogacy program. He says there are two adult female gorillas there that are trained to recognize when the baby is hungry, and deliver her to zoo staff for regular feedings.
“She has proven to be very adaptable. Primates are very adaptable,” says Wing. “And I think she’s going to grow up and not even realize, maybe, that she’s missing a leg. There are primates out in zoos and out in the wild that adapt perfectly well with three limbs.”
Wing says no date has been set for Misha’s move to Columbus, but it could come in the next week.