After their premature baby was hospitalized for weeks, this gorilla family had a delightful reunion that was captured by caretakers.
The tiny western lowland gorilla, nicknamed Baby G, was born October 26 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio.
Baby G was hailed with quite the fanfare in the city last Autumn, because it was the first baby gorilla to be born at the zoo in its 139-year history.
But they were in for a roller coaster ride of health issues.
When its 23-year-old mother Nneka did not show appropriate maternal care, the troop’s eldest female, Fredrika, 47—who herself has raised four infants elsewhere—instinctively took over looking after the newborn.
Baby G weighed only about three pounds at birth, and later contracted pneumonia, so he had to be separated from his family, in order to be treated.
Two weeks later, the now-healthy gorilla who weighed nearly seven pounds was reintroduced to his surrogate mother.
Keepers at the zoo put the baby in a makeshift nest to get him used to how it would feel to be in the gorilla troop.
They then exited the enclosure and let in Fredrika who, after sniffing him for a few minutes, picked him up and has barely let go of him since.
The baby’s surrogate mother continued to impress the zoo’s staff by bouncing Baby G and displaying all the maternal instincts she had before he was removed.
The other gorillas, including its father, Mokolo, 24, welcomed the baby back into the group, with dad keeping a watchful eye.