Baby Gorilla Abandoned at Birth Beats the Odds with the Help of a Dedicated Caregiver

Baby Gorilla Abandoned at Birth Beats the Odds with the Help of a Dedicated Caregiver

YouTube/7News Australia

An adorably sweet baby gorilla born at the Mogo Wildlife Park in Australia had a rough time of it initially, but the little one has officially turned yet another corner on their road to growing up big and strong someday.

The baby, named Kaius, was born at the wildlife park last October to first-time mommy and daddy, 10-year-old mother Kipensi, and 17-year-old father Kisane. Shortly after giving birth, Kisane reportedly removed Kaius from his mother's arms and refused to give him back.

Australia Wildlife Parks

After roughly 14 hours of cajoling on the part of park staff, they were finally able to rush in and grab the baby before whisking it away to feed it. Unfortunately, so much time had passed that when they tried to reintroduce the infant to its mother, she would have nothing to do with him.

That's when things really took a turn for the worse. They intended to try feeding him again, but when zookeeper Chad Staples picked him up, he said, "his demeanor changed."

"He'd lost color, looking very dull in the eyes, and so we rushed him up to the vet block, and he proceeded to crash quite quickly."

Baby Gorillas Very Much Like Human Babies

Kaius, just one day old, was then diagnosed with sepsis pneumonia.

"He crashed probably half a dozen times where he was basically revived and, you know, shots of adrenaline and all this stuff to get his little body going again," Staples stated.

"The vets were talking about euthanasia. Doctors were talking about him probably not making it through the night," he added.

So, Staples sat up all night with little Kaius sleeping on his chest.
"That was what gave him the most comfort and actually got his heart rate and breathing under control, just that skin-to-skin contact and feeling the heartbeat like he would from his mom."

Being a Surrogate Daddy

It was from that point that Kaius started getting better and growing stronger. It took nearly two months, but the two started going outside more often, with Kaius riding on Staples' back as they had their walkabouts. Eventually came the process of introducing other staff members so that Kaius wouldn't get too attached to Staples, his main caregiver.

As time passed, Kaius would be moved from Staples' home located within the zoo to the gorilla enclosure in a space neighboring G-Anne, a 42-year-old female who would become his new adoptive mom. The goal was to get the two of them to interact to the point that they would eventually be able to share the same spot.

Dream Job as Surrogate Mother

Introducing non-related offspring can be dangerous, as they are not always accepted and can be injured or killed during the introduction process. Two days later, however, and any fears they may have had for the youngster's safety evaporated as G-Anne took to her new role as a surrogate mother.

"She's a beautiful girl, and she's always shown signs that she wanted this as much as what we did," Staples said. "I'm not worried about that anymore. You know, it's always in the back of your head. You know, what if? But not like it was."

In the meantime, the two will spend time together until Kaius — whose name means "rejoice" — is ready to make his public debut at the wildlife park.

Saving Wildlife

For his part, Staples says Kaius appears to still recognize him, and he's hoping the connection lasts.

"Once I'm close, he really pushes his face into mine and big beautiful breaths, holds on tight, you know, tries to kiss, all these sorts of beautiful things," Staples explained. "I do hope that there's a bond there for his life. It'd be pretty special."

Check out the videos below. The first is an update regarding his progress today, and the second was shot eight months ago after Kaius reached an important milestone. They're both incredibly heartwarming.

Rebecca West

Rebecca is a writer and editor for both print and digital with a love for travel, history, archaeology, trivia, and architecture. Much of her writing has focused on human and animal health and welfare. A life-long pet owner, she has taken part in fostering dogs for military members during deployment and given many rescued and surrendered dogs the forever home they always wanted. Her two favorite canine quotes are, "Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are," and "My dog rescued me."

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