Surrogate bonds with baby gorilla rejected by mother

March 8, 2019
In this Thursday, March 7, 2019 photo, Bulera grabs a half head of cabbage before heading back into the gorilla house with her adopted baby Gandai during the pair's first excursion into the gorilla yard of the Jacksonville Zoo in Jacksonville, Fla. The 30-year-old gorilla has become a surrogate mother to the baby gorilla whose mother hasn't shown sufficient interest in her baby. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A 30-year-old gorilla at a Florida zoo has become a surrogate mother to a baby gorilla whose mother hasn’t shown sufficient interest in her baby.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens spokeswoman JJ Vitale tells the Florida Times-Union that Bulera began holding 5-month-old Gandai as soon as they were introduced on Feb. 27. She says that within minutes Bulera was “comforting her with soft vocal rumbles.”

The gorilla’s mother, Kumbuka, had already lost two infants at the zoo. Officials believe that because she is deaf she didn’t hear their distress cries. They intervened when they observed Kumbuka incorrectly holding the baby.

Zookeepers took turns providing round-the-clock care until a surrogate was found.

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