Keepers say the adorable tot has had a strong recovery after a shaky start to life (Picture: Howletts Wild Animal Park)

A baby gorilla who was rejected by her mother after being born prematurely is now ‘fighting fit’ after being hand-reared.

Yaounde weighed just 1.04kg when she was born in Kent’s Howletts Wild Animals Park in June last year.

Keepers had to step in when they witnessed the mother’s neglect of her infant, which may have been linked to her condition after being born six weeks early.

Rejected gorilla babies have been known to bond to other adult females from the same species, but in Yaounde’s case the staff have become the surrogates. According to the centre, she is attached 24/7 to her ‘foster parents’ who have helped her grow to a weight of 5.19kg.

Yaounde weighed just 1.04kg at birth, having been born six weeks early (Picture: Howletts Wild Animal Park)
The seven-month-old is now being carefully introduced to the other gorillas (Picture: Howletts Wild Animal Park)

A post on Howletts’ Facebook page says: ‘We are proud to have a team of extremely dedicated keepers and because of them Yaounde is fighting fit and slowly and carefully being introduced to the group with the hope she will be welcomed in to the family.’

Keepers at a zoo in Jacksonville, Florida had to step in after another infant was also rejected.

It was suspected that the death of two previous infants was due to the mother being deaf, which prevented her from hearing their distressed cries.

Staff intervened when the gorilla was seen incorrectly holding her baby, but were overjoyed five months later to find it had successfully bonded with another adult gorilla.



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