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'We started to see a lot more bonding’: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo shares new update on baby gorilla Jameela and surrogate mom



The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has been a staple in the Cleveland community for over 100 years, providing a home for a wide variety of animals in a beautiful and natural setting. One of the zoo’s most recent and heartwarming stories involves a baby gorilla named Jameela and her surrogate mother.

Jameela was born at the zoo in April 2021 to first-time mother Fredrika. Unfortunately, Fredrika was unable to care for Jameela due to complications during labor, leaving the newborn gorilla without a mother to care for her. This is where the zoo’s animal care team stepped in to ensure Jameela’s well-being.

The team decided to place Jameela with a surrogate mother, which is a common practice in zoos when a mother is unable to care for her offspring. In this case, the surrogate mother chosen was Mokolo, an experienced and nurturing gorilla who has successfully raised other gorilla infants in the past.

The introduction of Jameela to Mokolo was carefully planned and monitored by the zoo’s animal care team to ensure a smooth transition and to allow both gorillas to bond with each other. According to the zoo’s primate curator, Kristen Lukas, the bonding process between Jameela and Mokolo has been progressing well.

“We started to see a lot more bonding between Jameela and Mokolo in the past few weeks,” Lukas said. “Mokolo has been very attentive and nurturing towards Jameela, grooming her and carrying her around the exhibit. Jameela, in turn, seems to be very comfortable and secure in Mokolo’s presence.”

The zoo has been providing regular updates on Jameela and Mokolo’s progress through their social media channels, allowing visitors to follow along with their heartwarming story. The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing their excitement and support for the pair.

In addition to the bonding between Jameela and Mokolo, the zoo’s animal care team has been working diligently to ensure Jameela’s health and development. Jameela receives regular check-ups from the zoo’s veterinary staff and is also closely monitored by her surrogate mother, Mokolo, who provides her with the necessary care and attention.

The zoo has also been providing enrichment activities for Jameela to help stimulate her physical and mental development. Enrichment activities can include puzzles, toys, and other forms of stimulation that encourage natural behaviors and provide mental stimulation for the animals.

Jameela’s story is just one example of the important conservation work that zoos like the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo are involved in. Gorillas are a critically endangered species, with threats such as habitat loss, poaching, and disease putting their populations at risk. By providing a safe and nurturing environment for gorillas like Jameela, zoos play a crucial role in raising awareness about the importance of conservation and helping to protect these magnificent animals for future generations.

As Jameela continues to grow and thrive under the care of her surrogate mother, Mokolo, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo remains committed to providing the best possible care for all of its animals. The zoo’s dedication to animal welfare and conservation efforts is evident in the success of stories like Jameela’s, which serve as a reminder of the positive impact that zoos can have on the lives of the animals in their care.

In conclusion, the story of baby gorilla Jameela and her surrogate mother at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a heartwarming example of the important work that zoos do to care for and protect endangered species. Through the dedication and expertise of the zoo’s animal care team, Jameela and Mokolo have formed a strong bond that will help ensure Jameela’s health and well-being as she grows. The zoo’s commitment to conservation and animal welfare is evident in stories like Jameela’s, which inspire and educate visitors about the importance of protecting and preserving our planet’s precious wildlife.



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