Gorillas are incredible animals that are also one of our closest animal relatives. Our species has many similarities, and an unlikely, beautiful bond can form between humans and gorillas.
That was the case recently, when an Australian zookeeper intervened to give a baby gorilla a chance of survival after his mother rejected him.
Kaius, a baby gorilla, was born last month at Mogo Wildlife Park in New South Wales, but his life was almost cut short.
It was the first birth for the zoo’s gorilla family, and new mother Kipenzi reportedly “did a great job” with the birth, which appeared to be going well.
However, for unknown reasons, the baby’s father, Kisane, separated Kaius from his mother during a critical feeding period. While the father was “very gentle and caring” with the newborn, removing him from his mother endangered his life.
After 14 hours, zoo staff were able to return the baby to Kipenzi, but Kaius had developed sepsis pneumonia and was rejected by his mother.
The life of the newborn gorilla was in jeopardy, but zookeeper Chad Staples, along with veterinarians and staff, were not about to give up.
“On the first night I had him, when all the health care people had treated him and left, we all knew there was a high chance he would crash overnight,” Chad told The Sunday Telegraph.
Chad, who has been updating his Facebook page with updates on the story, has been caring for Kaius around the clock, lavishing him with special love and attention as if he were his own child.
“Right now, a lot of his care mimics the exact care you would give a human baby, with all of his nutritional requirements, hygiene, and medical care, but also, and most importantly, his emotional care and development,” Chad wrote. “Kaius needs to know he is loved and protected like a baby, and please know that I am doing so right now, around the clock.”
Kaius has made a steady recovery over the last few weeks, thanks to the zookeeper’s special care.
“Everyone attributes it to skin on skin contact and providing him with emotional connection and stability,” he explained to the Telegraph. “That contact of him being on my chest, listening to my heartbeat, was what brought his heart rate down and stabilized his breathing.”
Chad has recently reported that Kaius is doing “so so good,” gaining weight and becoming “stronger and stronger.”
While human hand-rearing has been ideal for Kaius’ recovery, the ultimate goal is for him to be reunited with his family and fellow gorillas one day.
“He is a tiny baby now, but I hope to see him as a beautiful, strong Silverback with his own family group to look after in the future,” Chad wrote.
In the meantime, Kaius is recovering steadily in the arms of his very special caregiver.
“Our beautiful little boy is taking his own baby steps,” Chad said. “He’s still on all his medications, but his eyes are so bright that it gives us all hope.”
Watch beautiful baby gorilla Kaius in the video below!
We’re thrilled that this adorable baby gorilla is on the mend, thanks to the special care provided by this caring zookeeper. We hope Kaius grows up strong and large enough to be reunited with his fellow gorillas!
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