Zoo Gorilla Introduces Her Baby to Human Mom and Her Newborn

Emmelina, Michael, and Canyon Austin at the gorilla exhibit at Boston's Franklin Park Zoo.

Emmelina, Michael, and Canyon Austin at the gorilla exhibit at Boston's Franklin Park Zoo. (Image: via Michael Austin)

Motherly instincts are not limited to humans, as has been seen in many instances. Almost all animals, including primates such as gorillas, possess maternal instincts. In a recent incident that has touched the hearts of animal lovers, a zoo gorilla mom brought her baby to meet a human mother and her newborn. The heart-touching event was captured by the husband of the woman.

Maine resident Michael Austin, along with his spouse Emmelina and their newborn son Canyon, visited the Boston-based Franklin Park Zoo. While exploring the zoo’s gorilla enclosure, they saw a female gorilla. Kiki was there with her 7-month-old baby named Pablo. Kiki met Emmelina with her baby on the other side of the glass. The gorilla looked at the human child with empathy and love, said the couple. After watching the human child up close for some minutes, Kiki went back and brought her own offspring to show to the humans.

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Watch this video of a human mother sharing a unique maternal bond with a gorilla mother.

Michael was touched by the rather unexpected incident. He said, “My wife held up our son to show to Kiki, who was on the other side of the enclosure. Then Kiki grabbed Pablo and put him on her leg to carry him over to us.” While the human and gorilla mother could not speak to each other in the same language, the feeling was reciprocal. Even the physical glass barrier did not prove to be a barrier for the mothers to convey their feelings.

The incident made the couple emotional. Michael added, “[Kiki] was talking to us with her hands. Pablo even pushed his face up to the glass at one point and they watched him, noses touching, together. My wife and I both had tears in our eyes.”

Gorilla Kiki reacts to the human child

When Emmelina held her son up to the glass, Kiki tried to hold and lick it. It signified that she understood how precious the child was. The video clip recorded by Michael soon went viral. Animal scientists have always praised the intelligence of primates like gorillas and the event corroborates their claims. The video, which got more than 3 million views, proves beyond doubt that one mother can realize the feelings of another. Emmelina and Kiki spent some time together on both sides of the glass, sharing a bond that only mothers are capable of feeling.

Naturally, Emmelina was also touched by the loving gesture of Kiki. She said, “I was just in awe. Trying to stroke his face through the glass, and trying to hold his hand … just the most beautiful thing. You could see the emotion in her eyes.” The couple shared their amazing experience at the gorilla enclosure with the media later. Their son Kanyon was sleeping through most of the time but Emmelina said she wants to bring the baby again to the zoo and meet Kiki again. She also said that many visitors at the zoo observed the incident and were emotionally moved.

A zoo gorilla mom brought her baby to meet a human mother and her newborn.
Michael and Emmelina Austin with baby Canyon. (Image: via Michael Austin)

Kiki is not exactly shy of human attention. She made headlines before as she has given birth to four daughters and one son. Pablo, whom she showcased to the visitors, was born in October last year.

Gorillas like Kiki are native to Central Africa, more specifically, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Poaching and disease, however, have decimated the population by as much as 60 percent in the last 20 to 25 years. Hopefully, within the next 75 years, the species is, once again, thriving in the wild.

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