SLIDESHOW | Meet Kindi the baby gorilla! - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SLIDESHOW | Meet Kindi the baby gorilla!

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's the first time visitors at the Louisville Zoo are getting a glimpse of six-month-old gorilla, Kindi and her surrogate mother, 32-year-old Kweli, together in their exhibit.

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Watching the chemistry between the two, visitors would never guess Kweli isn't Kindi's real mother. In fact, Kindi wasn't raised by a gorilla. Her story is heart-wrenching, but it's one with a happy ending. Her real mother died from C-section complications a day after Kindi was born. This is the first time in Louisville Zoo history the zoo staff had to raise a baby gorilla.

"We had to do everything that the gorilla moms would do. So we had to have the furry vest on, we had to take her in all the places she was going to go in, we had to use gorilla vocalizations to her," Gorilla Forest Supervisor, Jill Katka, said.

Kindi required attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until Kweli came to the rescue and assumed the role of mom.

"When Kweli first picked Kindi up, she walked over to her and she scooped her up and she held her and it was just the most natural thing ever," Katka said.

Zoo officials first thought the dominant gorilla named Paki would become Kindi's surrogate mother.

"Paki acted like she really liked Kindi and she was really good to her, but she wasn't quite attentive enough. So we had a plan B in the background which was Kweli, and we gave Kweli the opportunity and she really stepped up," Katka said.

Now, Kweli and Kindi are inseparable, and this is the first time visitors are getting a glimpse of the two together.

Once Kindi is more comfortable in her new exhibit, the zoo will announce a schedule visitors can come and see her regularly.  

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