CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Zoo is once again using human surrogates to raise a baby gorilla whose mom abandoned her.
Primate keepers at the zoo are putting their faux-fur vests back on to hand raise the gorilla, named Kamina, who came from the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden.
The zoo made headlines last year for using these human surrogates in an effort to raise Gladys, a 5-month-old gorilla who was rejected by her birth mother in Texas.
Like Gladys, Kamina's mother, name Ndjole, did not demonstrate any signs of maternal care toward her baby, according to the zoo.
"Ndjole was given several opportunities to bond with her baby within the first 24 hours and didn't show any interest in her, putting the newborn's life at risk," said Oklahoma City Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer D'Agostino.
Because of the success the Cincinnati Zoo had with Gladys, the zoo decided to send Kamina here.
Being a surrogate to these baby gorillas means behaving like one. Keepers lived with Gladys 24/7 teaching her to act, think and live like a gorilla.
The zoo says Kamina will be cared for by human surrogates for about 12 to 14 weeks before being placed with one of the female adult gorillas, who will become her real surrogate mom.
"They start learning life lessons, and language, and rules of etiquette from day one just like we do," said Ron Evans is the primate curator at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The humane surrogate also has to teach Kamina how to be a gorilla, so zoo workers make what they call 'gorilla vocalizations' to the animal.
Wearing furry vests and gloves to foster baby gorillas has only happened a handful of times at zoos across the country, Evans told FOX19 NOW. He says Gladys is arguably the happiest animal in the entire zoo, and hopes Kamina is another surrogate success story.
"The biggest reward is not the fact that I get to hold a baby gorilla but that I get to give that baby gorilla to a real gorilla mom and I know that gorilla is going to have a happy long life," said Evans.