Our little Western lowland gorilla, Afia, is now 15-months-old and loves snuggling with her surrogate mother, Romina.
Afia will instigate play with Romina whenever she gets the chance and the pair will often good-naturedly wrestle together, with Afia chuckling the whole time.
Afia also enjoys playing with our youngest male, Kukena. This is a recent and significant change with Kukena now understanding that if he is gentle, Romina will happily allow the pair to play together.
The little lowland is getting increasingly confident around the rest of the troop. Afia will now climb off Romina to explore the gorilla house and island however, she is never further than an arm’s length away from Romina. Romina enjoys staying outside on the island following the gorilla’s lunchtime feed and this is when Afia can often be seen playing in the straw and exploring the shelter.
Al Toyne, one of Afia’s keepers, said: “While inside the Gorilla House Afia will climb and swing on ropes. The rest of the group are aware of Afia and are happy to let her explore.
“Our silverback, Jock, recently sat near Romina and had a look at Afia out of the corner of his eye and then lay down next to them and offered his back. So far Afia hasn’t been brave enough to reach out to him.”
Afia is healthy and is getting much stronger with each day that passes. She has recently transitioned from milk formula onto cow’s milk and continues to gain weight. She has three milk feeds a day and eats solid food with Romina and the rest of the troop. Her keepers say her favourite foods are sweetcorn, red peppers, tomatoes and basil leaves.
Afia’s birth mother, Kera, is healthy and back to her old playful self. She is curious of Afia and will often sit in close proximity of Romina and Afia but continues to display no clear maternal behaviours towards her.