We just got back from a misty morning press event at the SF Zoo, a first peek at the debut of Hasani, their baby western lowland gorilla, and his surrogate mother, Bawang. As you can see, we took a lot of pictures, and some video (embedded below — warning, it’s pretty much for Gorilla Super Fans, there’s not a lot going on there). It was so cool, wish you could have been there,
Hasani was born in December of last year, but his mother, Monifa, failed to show any nurturing tendencies, so he’s been hand-raised by zoo staff even as they trained his surrogate mom-to-be, Bawang. He’s also being raised by a gorilla who’s positioned herself as an aunt figure, Zura.
The family (could there be anything more San Franciscan than an adoptive mom, “aunt”, and baby family unit? We’re already looking forward to the O’Reilley castigation of our primates.) will have access to the zoo’s gorillia pavilion every day from 10-12, though it’ll be up to them whether or not they want to take advantage of this yard time. Their afternoons will be spent integrating them with the rest of the zoo’s gorillas, with the goal of getting everyone in one place soon.
Fun facts: This is the first baby the SF Zoo’s had for 11 years, and Hasani was one of only 4 baby gorillas successfully conceived in an North American Zoo this year. Want to know more? The Chronicle has a nice advance here.
Photos: Tim Ehhalt for the Appeal. Video: Eve Batey