A critically ill gorilla baby has been brought into intensive care in Germany -- in a hospital for humans.
A neglected baby gorilla was taken into intensive care over the weekend in Germany after being found in a life-threatening condition at a zoo in the western German city of Münster.
The six-week-old baby gorilla called Mary Two (Mary Zwo) was admitted into the pediatric intensive care unit of Münster University Hospital on Saturday after zoo staff found her lying critically ill in her mother's arms. Hospital staff placed the baby, who was dehydrated with low blood sugar levels and in danger of hypothermia, in an incubator in an attempt to save her life.
Mary Two and her mother Gana had been separated from the other gorillas in Münster zoo after Mary Two's father N'Kwango repeatedly attacked the mother and baby. After the separation, Gana appeared to pine for the other gorillas and had neglected her baby as a result.
"Gorilla babies are similar to human babies," said zoo director Jörg Adler, explaining why the tiny gorilla was admitted to a human hospital. A veterinarian clinic would not have been able to provide a sufficient level of care, he said. In fact, gorilla babies are often treated in human hospitals -- just one month ago, pediatricians in Heidleberg successfully treated a seriously ill animal.
Mary Two was brought back to the zoo -- complete with incubator -- by the fire brigade on Sunday afternoon after her condition improved. She was reported to be on the mend Monday. The tiny primate had drunk something in the early hours of Monday morning, Adler said, but she was "very tired at the moment." It is possible she will be transported to a gorilla ward at Stuttgart Zoo later on Monday so that she can be looked after together with other infant gorillas. The decision will be made after she is examined today.
Mary Two's name has a tragic etymology. The original Mary was born last year in the zoo, but was killed at the age of five months by another gorilla.