Picture of Hartford, Ky. woman sharing images with Louisville Zo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Picture of Hartford, Ky. woman sharing images with Louisville Zoo gorilla has gone viral | INTERVIEW

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A picture of a woman and a gorilla at the Louisville Zoo is going viral -- but it's not the first time the gorilla has become an internet sensation because of his interest in visitors' cell phones. 

Lindsey Costello posted a photo on Instagram last week. It shows her sitting with a gorilla at the zoo. 

She's showing her new friend pictures of other gorillas on a cellphone another woman let her borrow. 

The caption reads: "My new friend and I enjoy watching videos of baby gorillas.' 

We spoke with Costello by phone Monday afternoon. She says she was treating herself to a visit to the Zoo on her last day back on leave from military training. She says no animals are allowed on base. 

"The first thing I wanted to do was I just wanted to be surrounded by animals," Costello said. "Because I love animals so, so much. So on my last day home I'm like, 'hey let's go to the zoo. That's the best place to see animals, right?


Costello says the other woman was already showing the gorilla videos when she arrived and that the lady offered to let her try.

"When I walked into the gorilla exhibit ... I looked and I saw this lady holding a phone and the gorilla was right there next to her, watching it," Costello said.

Costello says the other woman could sense her excitement "so much that she was like, 'hey do you want to do this?' And I'm like, 'of course, like oh my gosh!' So she handed me her phone and I just sat there and I showed it videos. And as I was showing it the videos on her phone -- it was videos of baby gorillas -- she was telling me that if you turn the phone away from him, that he'll stretch out to try to look at it. And I tried it and it actually happened."

The gorilla Costello met was Jelani -- who already has a reputation for hanging out with visitors so he can check out their cell phone pics and videos

"He loves to look at cell phone videos interacting with the public and a lot of times if you show him a video, he'll come over and hang out," Jill Katka, the Assistant Mammal Curator at the Louisville Zoo, told us in 2015. 

Costello told us a friend asked if he could share her Instagram post on Reddit, and not long after that her phone started "blowing up" as people kept tagging her in memes and posts. 

Costello says she has no doubt Jelina knows what he's looking at, and knows what he likes. 

"And if you stay on a video for too long, or like a picture for too long, and he wants to go to the next one, he'll raise up his arm and swipe it over."

Jelani lives in the Zoo's popular Gorilla Forest exhibit. None of the other gorillas there seem to have the same fascination, so if you want to visit with Jelani, hae your phone or tablet ready. 

Jelani is on rotation throughout the day. He doesn't have any set hours, but lots of people are hoping they too can spend some time sharing photos and videos with him. 


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