MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County Zoo has announced that its female baby gorilla Zahra, will be transferred to a stable gorilla family unit at another zoo after losing both of her parents.
Zahra was born on September 9, 2017 and her father, Cassius, passed away unexpectedly April 12, 2018, as did her mother, Naku, on April 28.
Since then, the baby gorilla has been participating in human-assisted rearing. Zookeepers are with her 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Currently, the zoo does not have a long-term sustainable gorilla unit that Zahra could be put in. After consulting with Gorilla SSP (Species Survivor Plan) and other zoos, the decision was made to move her.
The receiving zoo has successfully surrogate-raised and hand-raised gorillas in the past, making it a great choice for baby Zahra. The staff that has cared for Zahra will accompany her on her journey to the new zoo, making the transition as easy as possible.
Beth Rich says orphaned baby Zahra receives round-the-clock care from zookeepers. But human touch is not enough for a baby gorilla.
"She needs to be in a stable family group to learn what it means, how to be a gorilla," Rich said.
Rich says the zoo will announce Zahar's new home after her transfer, which is happening sometime this week. Both zoos want to make a joint announcement.