Checkup Shows Young Gorilla’s Titanium Cast is Doing What it Was Specially Designed to Do

Posted May 16, 2024

Cincinnati Zoo vets see much improvement in Gladys’ broken arm

CINCINNATI, OH (May 16, 2024) — Veterinarians at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden say that 11-year-old gorilla Gladys’ arm, which was broken a month ago in a scuffle with her siblings, is healing well.  They examined her yesterday to see if the world’s first 3D-printed titanium cast, custom designed by Colibrium Additive – a GE Aerospace company, was doing what they hoped it would do.

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“She has tolerated this cast much better than the temporary one that was placed on her arm during surgery to repair her broken bone,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s primate team leader, Ashley Ashcraft. “Despite it weighing about 8 pounds, she’s been able to get around better than we expected!”

Ashcraft and the rest of the gorilla team have been monitoring Gladys closely during her recovery.  They attended to her 24/7 for the first couple of weeks to make sure that she was getting pain medication as needed and to provide TLC while she had to be separated from her troop.  She is still not sharing space with other gorillas but can see and hear them.

“The keepers have done a fantastic job keeping Gladys distracted and happy so she can heal, and the x-rays from yesterday show that healing is happening,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal health, Dr. Mike Wenninger. “We’re going to keep her in a cast for another few weeks. After that, she will require PT but should be able to use her arm like she used to.”

She will most likely remain behind the scenes for a few weeks after the cast is removed so she can take things slowly and be re-introduced to her troop.

“We put her arm through normal range of motion while she was out of the cast to try to relieve stiffness,” said Cincinnati Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Jessica Heinz.  “Her keepers kept the arm moving and did stretching exercises while we were doing other medical procedures and prepping the new cast. They will work with Gladys to make similar movements on her own after she’s out of the cast for good.”

Visitors can see the other gorillas during regular zoo hours – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Members get Early Entry and are welcome to enter the Zoo at 9 a.m. Be sure to check out Zoo Babies, presented by General Electric Credit Union, while you’re here.

DID YOU KNOW…. You pay more than $10 less per ticket, on select days, when you purchase tickets online!  That’s a $40 savings for a family of 4!

gladys gorilla with vets and keeper
gladys gorilla with keeper
gladys gorilla with vets