Baby gorilla at Lincoln Park Zoo recovering "remarkably well" after surgery

''Nayembi'' ( Lincoln Park Zoo)

March 1, 2013 3:44:43 PM PST
Three month-old Nayembi was seriously injured by another gorilla late last month.

On Friday zoo officials released the first photos of Nayembi, a Western lowland gorilla, since she was injured.

The staff still does not know how Nayembi was hurt but they knew immediately they had an emergency situation on their hands.

It was a very significant injury for, if you can imagine, a very small infant. She only weighs about six pounds, seven pounds so it was a very impressive injury to her face," the zoo's Director of Veterinary Medicine Kathryn Gamble said.

Sometime after Nayembi was injured, the baby's mother Rollie carried her to staff members. They were both sedated and vets were able to tend to the baby very quickly.

After a couple of days in critical care and a four-hour surgery, officials said Nayembi is recovering nicely.

"She plays about four to five hours a day with her caretakers and manipulating things," Gamble said. "She was just starting to crawl in the exhibit, so now she is very crawling, picking up objects, putting them in her mouth."

Other zoo officials say that Nayembi is playing with other animals as she should and that she’s getting all the sleep she needs.

She remains under 24 hour human care behind the scenes.

Nayembi's mother Rollie and the rest of their gorilla troop are returning to normal after the incident.

Zoo officials do not know when Nayembi will be reunited with the other gorillas.

"It's kind of too early to know because we need to see how she responds to treatment, how her injuries recover, then we're going to have to play it day by day as far as how she responds to the group, how the group responds to her," the zoo's Vice President of Animal Care Dr. Megan Ross said.

The zoo is hoping contributions will help them with a list of items still needed to help Nayembi's recovery.