Infant gorilla hand-reared by keepers is named following public vote

New gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens
New gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens (PA Media)
10:06am, Thu 19 Nov 2020
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An infant western lowland gorilla that is being hand-reared by keepers has been named following a public vote.

Bristol Zoo Gardens put four choices to a public poll on its Facebook page, which received more than 2,000 votes.

The winning vote was Hasani, which means handsome in Swahili.

Hasani, now three months old, is being hand-reared by keepers after he failed to feed well from his mother Kala.

He now weighs 9.9lbs and has started teething, with his first four teeth emerging in the past couple of weeks.

New gorilla at Bristol Zoo Gardens (PA Media)

Keepers say his development is progressing well and Hasani has rolled over for the first time this week.

Hasani is receiving round-the-clock care from a small team of gorilla keepers, who give him formula milk every three hours.

This will continue for the next few months, after which it is hoped that he will be ready to return to the rest of the gorilla troop.

Lynsey Bugg, curator of mammals at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “Hasani continues to do very well, we are really pleased with his progress.

“His co-ordination is improving and he is getting stronger. He is very playful and is already proving to have a lovely temperament.”

During the day, Hasani is cared for in the zoo’s Gorilla House to allow his mother Kala and the other gorillas to see him, smell him and be near him.

We are doing lots of work to encourage development of his mobility and strength, such as helping him to scoot, roll over and pull himself up

This will ensure that he continues to be accepted as a familiar member of the gorilla family.

He is cared for by keepers in zoo-owned accommodation at night.

“He wakes for milk feeds during the night and tends to cluster feed in the evening,” Ms Bugg said.

“During the day he still sleeps a lot, but is getting very active between naps.

“We are doing lots of work to encourage development of his mobility and strength, such as helping him to scoot, roll over and pull himself up.

“We encourage a lot of learning through play ̶ it’s immensely rewarding to see him developing in the way an infant gorilla should.”

Bristol Zoological Society has been caring for gorillas since 1930 and plays a significant role in the conservation breeding programme for western lowland gorillas, as well as running a conservation programme in Equatorial Guinea in Africa.

It also raises funds for gorilla conservation in the wild, supports a gorilla orphanage in Cameroon and has pioneered veterinary treatment for gorillas.

In March this year, it launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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