CINCINNATI – (March 1, 2013) The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is excited to announce that its 4 –week-old, female, baby gorilla officially has a name – “Gladys Stones!” The Zoo’s Primate Keepers thought this was the perfect way to honor the Gladys Porter Zoo (GPZ), in Brownsville, Texas, where the baby was born. And, the Zoo’s Facebook fans agreed, with dozens of people suggesting Gladys. Zoo Keepers also decided to give Gladys the last name “Stones” to recognize the Stones Family who cared for her in her first few weeks before she came to Cincinnati.
“Jerry and Cindy Stones, of the Gladys Porter Zoo, deserve all the recognition in the world for how quickly they swooped in and rescued Gladys,” said Ron Evans, Primate Center Team Leader at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. “Without their around the clock care and attention, I’m not sure she would still be here today. It was hard for them to see her go, and took a lot of love for them to say goodbye, and we wanted to acknowledge that.”
Gladys has now made the transition from the Zoo’s Nursery to her new home behind the scenes in the Gorilla World Baby Suite. Zoo surrogates are providing 24/7 care, working 8-hour shifts. These shifts involve a lot more than just cuddling the adorable new addition. Surrogacy involves understanding primate behavior, vocalizations and mothering instincts. The Baby Suite has been upgraded to feature 2-inch mesh that will assist keepers when they (eventually) bottle feed and cameras for around-the-clock monitoring. In addition, the suite will be outfitted with a mattress for Zoo staff to sit on during their long shifts, especially overnights. The baby suite is located directly across the hall from the rest of the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorillas – to give both parties plenty of time to see, smell and hear each other before introductions begin.
Gladys was born on January 29 to parents 14-year old, “Kiazi” and a 28-year-old silverback male named “Moja”. Kiazi joined the Gladys Porter Zoo’s gorilla troop in October 2011 as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding recommendation. She is on breeding loan transfer from the Cincinnati Zoo. The baby was being hand-reared by GPZ zookeepers because the new mom displayed a lack of maternal care. All parties agreed that relocation was the best course of action for the baby and because the Cincinnati Zoo has two female gorillas available to serve as potential surrogate mothers, it was decided that the baby should go there. Her introduction process to a new gorilla troop will be gradual to ensure a favorable integration.