A new baby being born is always a cause of tremendous celebration at zoos. Given that all the staff takes extreme measures for the animals to live in the best way possible, their joy at a safe birth is understandable. However, the other side of things is that they are not able to predict the reactions of the family members to the new infant.
This was the case ZSL London Zoo when Gernot the gorilla was born; some of the zookeeper were worried about Alika, Gernot’s older sister, being able to get along with her new baby brother.
Fortunately, Zookeepers were relieved when they saw that Alika was more than happy to step into the role of being a big sister to Gernot. Their interactions were so incredibly adorable that one of the gorilla keepers, Glynn Hennessy, commented,
“Western lowland gorillas live in troops and learn how to act from observing each other’s behaviors and manners and here we can see Alika demonstrating some of the nurturing skills she’s learned from the adults.
As keepers we not only get to celebrate the important milestone of Alika’s first birthday, and marvel at how independent she’s becoming, but we get to witness these incredible, natural interactions between her and Gernot.”
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