Baby gorilla born at safari park is growing up fast - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Baby gorilla born at safari park is growing up fast

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The gorilla that required medical attention for several days after she was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park earlier this year is now 5 months old and learning to crawl, the zoo announced Friday.

The gorilla, named Joanne, is able to sit and eat by herself and is often seen riding on the back of her mother, Imani. Joanne often climbs off and crawls around when her mom stops to forage, animal handlers said.

"We've seen Joanne crawl away from Imani a little bit while she's sitting on exhibit," said Jami Pawlowski, keeper at the Safari Park. "Imani always keeps her eye on her, but Joanne is testing out her independence and seeing how far she can get."

Keepers said they believe Joanne has eight teeth now, allowing her to sample solid foods like fruits and vegetables, like slices of grapes and kale.

She primarily nurses from her mother, however.

The young gorilla shares her habitat with seven others of her species, including two youngsters, 3-year-old Monroe and 6-year-old Frank.

The young males are eager to interact with Joanne, and even though the mother is very protective of her baby, she sometimes lets Frank briefly hold her. Monroe plays a more mischievous role, poking and peering at the mother and baby before quickly running away.

The gorilla is named in honor of Joanne Warren, the first chairwoman of the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global. She was born at the Safari Park on March 12 after a rare emergency C-section was needed.

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