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Lincoln Park Zoo Baby Gorilla Thriving After Major Injury, 'Acting Just Like A Gorilla Baby Should'

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Zoo officials say Baby Nayembi is
Zoo officials say Baby Nayembi is "thriving" under 24-hour care. (Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo)

Good news for Lincoln Park Zoo's injured baby gorilla keeps coming as zoo officials reported Wednesday the endangered gorilla was "thriving" under 24-hour care.

(See photos of baby Nayembi below.)

“Our priority has always been to get Nayembi back with her mother, Rollie, and the rest of the troop,” said Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy in a statement. “Over the past few months, Nayembi has been achieving important milestones in order to make that happen. She is a healthy weight, is experimenting with solid foods, and is acting just like a gorilla baby should.”

In the month's following her injury, the 6-month-old was still receiving around-the-clock care the zoo's animal experts.

Kevin Bell, the zoo's president and CEO, wrote in a recent blog post post that despite the baby's improvements, "you’ll notice we haven’t offered a stream of photos with the baby gorilla" interacting with her human care-takers.

"Research by one of our leading scientists, Fisher Center Director Steve Ross, has shown that people who see images of humans and apes sharing space are less likely to consider these amazing animals to be endangered," Bell wrote.

In February, the baby gorilla was found with cuts to her face at the zoo's Regenstein Center for African Apes and was immediately separated from the rest of the gorilla group with her mother. Zoo officials said the injury was likely inflicted by another gorilla, though zoo officials noted there were no prior signs of aggression in the group.

Nayembi was the zoo's second gorilla baby born last fall -- to parents Rollie and Kwan. Nayembi's father Kwan also fathered Patty, a new gorilla baby born in October, with troop member Bana.

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