A baby gorilla named Kaius was born at the Mogo Wildlife Park in Australia. At first, the birth went smoothly, and the baby arrived without hassle. However, the mom, named Kipenzi, was unable to deliver the placenta naturally, so she needed surgery to remove it. That meant she would be away from her newborn baby for hours, which wasn’t ideal.
Kaius faced several challenges while away from his mother, causing him to get sick. Now, his mother is refusing to nurture him, so zookeeper Chad Staples stepped up to give Kaius the care he needs.
A Rough Start to Life
The father, known as Kisane, decided to take Kaius into his care before Kipenzi went into surgery. He refused to put the baby down after Kipenzi left, so the zookeepers couldn’t take the baby to feed him. No one knows exactly why Kisane showed so much interest in Kaius. It may have been because he could tell something was wrong with Kipenzi and wanted to help.
“Dad decided to then get involved, which as lovely as it sounds, is not actually what you want that early on,” Staples said. “You want him to be interested in the baby, but not to take it.”
Eventually, Kisane set the baby down, giving the staff members enough time to grab Kaius and check on him. Unfortunately, he was suffering from sepsis pneumonia. His demeanor and skin color changed, so he needed to be connected to oxygen and feeding tubes to keep him healthy.
Baby gorillas require similar care to human babies, so the zookeepers asked local doctors, nurses, vets, and midwives for assistance. Once Kaius was stable and done with his medications, he was able to get rid of the tubes so he could recover with his mom. However, despite everything, his mother rejected him, leaving Staples to continue caring for him.
Baby Stays Healthy Despite All Odds
Even though Kipenzi seems unwilling to care for her baby, Staples is still making an effort to help them bond. He bottle-feeds Kaius in front of his family members and leaves the baby’s bedding in the enclosure with the other gorillas. He often has the adult gorillas interact with Kaius through the fence of their enclosure.
Staples hopes these efforts will encourage the other gorillas to welcome Kaius into their family. He noted that it will likely be a long time before Kipenzi warms up to her baby again, but he’s optimistic that it will happen eventually.
“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 every day,” Staples said.
Staples will continue to care for Kaius as long as needed. As much as he loves looking after the little primate, the goal is to reintegrate him with the other gorillas. You can see updates on the baby gorilla’s journey on Zookeeper Chad’s Facebook page.