Zookeeper steps in to care for ill baby gorilla rejected by its mother

Gorillas are incredible animals, and they’re also one of the closest animal relatives to humans. Our species share a lot in common, and many times an unlikely, beautiful bond can form between humans and gorillas.

That was the case recently, after one Australian zookeeper stepped in to give a baby gorilla a chance of survival after he was rejected by his mother.

Baby gorilla Kaius was born at Mogo Wildlife Park, in New South Wales last month, but the beautiful newborn’s life was almost cut short.

It was the first birth for the zoo’s gorilla family, and new mom Kipenzi reportedly “did a great job” with the birth, and everything seemed to be going smoothly.

But for reasons unknown, the baby’s father, Kisane, took Kaius away from his mother during a critical feeding period. While the dad was “very gentle and caring” with the newborn, removing the infant from his mother put his life in danger.

Zoo staff were able to get the baby back to Kipenzi, after 14 hours, but Kaius had developed sepsis pneumonia and was rejected by his mother.

The newborn gorilla’s life was in danger — but zookeeper Chad Staples, along with veterinarians and staff, were not ready to give up.

“On the first night I had him, when all the health care people had treated him and left, we all knew there was a high chance he would crash overnight,” Chad told The Sunday Telegraph.

Chad, who has been sharing updates on the story on his Facebook page, has been caring for Kaius round-the-clock, giving him special love and attention as if he were his own child.

“Right now a lot of his care mimics the exact care you would give a human baby with all of his nutritional requirements, his hygiene and medical care but also in some ways most importantly his emotional care and development,” Chad wrote. “Kaius needs to know he is loved and protected just like a baby and please know I am providing this now around the clock.”

Over the past few weeks, Kaius has made a steady recovery — all thanks to the zookeeper’s special care.

“Everyone puts it down to skin on skin contact and giving him the emotional connection and stability,” he told the Telegraph. “What got his heart rate down and what stabilised his breathing was that contact of him being on my chest, listening to my heartbeat.”

In recent updates, Chad has reported that Kaius is doing “so so good” and is putting on weight and getting “stronger and stronger.”

While human hand-rearing has been the perfect solution for Kaius’ recovery, the ultimate goal is for him to one day be reunited with his family and fellow gorillas.

“He is a tiny baby now but I want to see him as a beautiful, strong Silverback in the future with his own family group to look after,” Chad wrote.

But in the meantime, Kaius is making a steady recovery in the arms of his very special carer.

“Our beautiful little boy is make his own little steps forward,” Chad said. “Still on all his medications but with such brightness in his eyes which gives us all hope.”

We’re so glad this beautiful baby gorilla is making a recovery, thanks to the special care from this loving zookeeper. We hope Kaius grows up big and strong and can be reunited with his fellow gorillas!

Please share this inspiring story if you love gorillas ❤️🦍