Zookeeper Chad knew he had to help this little one survive.
Humans share 98% of our DNA with gorillas.
They are our second closest relatives in the animal kingdom, next to chimpanzees who share 99% of our DNA.
This is why it’s no wonder that baby gorillas act so much like human babies. How to care for a baby gorilla is also very similar to caring for a baby.
In New South Wales, Australia, zookeeper Chad Staples had to step in and care for newborn baby gorilla Kaius when his mom Kipenzi suddenly rejected him.
Kaius was the first baby born in Mogo Wildlife Park.
According to Staples’ Facebook page, Zookeeper Chad, new mom Kipenzi “did a great job birthing her baby, cleaning and nurturing like an absolute pro.”
However, Kipenzi was unable to deliver the placenta and needed medical intervention. Then eight hours after the birth, dad Kisane took away the new baby from Kipenzi.
This was not expected behavior from him.
While he was gentle and caring with the baby, he did not want to return the baby to his mother.
A few hours later, Kisane finally left the baby and the park staff came, and they retrieved the baby to check on it. They also performed a procedure on Kipenzi to remove the placenta.
The following day, Staples and the rest of the team prepared Kaius to be reunited with his mother. Kaius was set on bedding in front of his family, highly accessible to his mom and grandmother.
However, mom Kipenzi showed no interest in her baby.
The zookeeper and the park staff kept the baby gorilla out as long as possible, but they noticed that his color and demeanor had changed.
Over the next few days and nights, a team of specialist neonatal doctors and nurses worked hard to save his life.
There were some moments when they thought they might lose Kaius to sepsis pneumonia, but they were able to put him on the road to recovery.
After a week of being connected to oxygen and feeding tubes, Kaius finally finished his medications and was removed from the tubes.
Because his mom continued to reject him, Staples has become the primary caregiver and parent of Kaius.
However, Staples bottle feeds the baby gorilla in front of his family and leave his beddings with them at night to continue creating a bond between them.
The goal is to integrate him back with his family. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon.
In spite of the challenges they are facing in trying to reunite Kaius with his family, there are some improvements.
“Some really nice interactions and even some great little touches. This is a long road ahead, but we are headed in the right direction. Small positive steps everyday,” posted Staples on his Facebook page.
Staples and the team at the wildlife park continue to care for baby Kaius.
However, their objective is for him to go back to living with his fellow gorillas.
“Little Kaius has become my absolute focus over the last three weeks. Right now I am hand raising him, as you know, because of a series of uncontrollable events his mother couldn’t care for him and wouldn’t accept him back,” Staples said.
However, he emphasized that his goal is to reintegrate Kaius back with gorillas and see him as a strong and beautiful silverback gorilla with his own family group.
We love how Staples is taking care of Kaius like he is his own child, but still with the goal of reuniting him with his family. Not only is Staples taking care of Kaius physically, but he is also giving him love and emotional support.