For Mother's Day, Gorilla Baby Embraces Mom

Hasani finds love in adopted arms

By John Boitnott and Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, Jun 9, 2009  |  Updated 4:54 PM CDT
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The San Francisco Zoo’s baby gorilla, who became an international star after being abandoned by his natural mother last December, is finally bonding with his new adopted mommy.

The five-month-old gorilla named Hasani is now in the loving care of his surrogate mom, Bawang, after his human caregivers handed him over last week.

A Youtube video shows the primate pair acting quite intimate, and more human than visitors might expect, during their first day together.

Hasani's plight had been watched by animal lovers ever since his birth. His real mom, Monifa, wanted nothing to do with him almost  immediately. 

After the maternal rejection, the zoo set up a temporary nursery inside the zoo’s gorilla house and zookeepers took over Hasani's care.

The zoo’s primate team, a veterinarian, and a hand-rearing support team shipped in from the Columbus Zoo were on the job around the clock taking care of the young ape while also training Bawang to be his mother.

Over the next few weeks and months zoo keepers will begin introducing other gorillas into the mix -- including Monifa.

But before Hasani's biological mother gets another chance, Bawang's 10-year-old daughter Nneka and a couple others, including Hasani's birth father, will slowly be brought back into his life.

The introductions are expected to take about two months.

Hasani is still not ready for visitors, but the zoo is providing updates via Twitter and through its podcast page.

Hasani & Bawang Together at Last

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