Thursday, April 10, 2008
A Moment Of Fuzu Gorilla Zen...
As he surveys his surroundings through bright black eyes, and takes his first steps on wobbly legs, Fuzu is rarely more than a couple of metres from his mother Frala's side.
And it seems the four-month-old has stirred maternal feelings in more than one of Taronga Zoo's western lowland gorillas, with five-year-old Mbeli's apparent decision to appoint herself babysitter-in-chief.
Senior primate keeper Allan Schmidt said the turn of events did not seem to worry Frala, who was happy for Mbeli to cradle Fuzu.
"(Mbeli) is absolutely obsessed with him and likes to pick him up when she can," Mr Schmidt said.
"This mothering, or wanting to nurture him, is a very normal thing - she's five years of age, so she's just starting to get into that period of becoming sexually receptive in the next couple of years.
"Whenever she's got him, she tries to leave - but Frala won't let her. If Mbeli had him for any period of time, she wouldn't know what to do with him."
In any case, it seems Fuzu, whose Swahili name means "to succeed", or "to win", is doing just fine on his own.