Interspecies primate love

May 26, 2021 • 2:00 pm

This is an ineffably sweet video from The Dodo, showing a gorilla mother, with her own young baby, fascinated by a human relative with her human baby on the other side of the glass. Four minutes in the video, the gorilla mom fetches and displays her own infant to the human. I cannot help but feel, anthropomorphic though it may be, that this is a moment of maternal bonding.

Here’s The Dodo‘s text:

Sometimes, a difference really isn’t a difference at all — especially when it comes to the bonds of a mother’s love.

Just ask Emmelina Austin and her new friend, this gorilla mom named Kiki.

The other day, Austin and her family decided to pay a visit to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston with their 1-month-old son, Canyon.

It was there, while stopping by the gorilla enclosure, that the Austins spotted Kiki in the company of her own child, a 7-month-old baby gorilla named Pablo.

“My wife mentioned that she felt like she could understand their bond and could see how much she cared for Pablo, since she is a mother now herself,” Michael Austin, Canyon’s dad, told The Dodo.

“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.”

For the next several minutes, Emmelina and Kiki sat with their babies inches apart — bonding as mothers, despite the barrier between them, in a language as old as time:

“[Kiki] was talking to us with her hands,” Michael said. “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.”

It was a moment the young family won’t soon forget.

“It was one of the most amazing experiences,” Michael said. “Such an incredible memory to share with our son someday!”

Do watch the whole thing:

The naked ape family (photo by Michael Austin):

9 thoughts on “Interspecies primate love

  1. The gorilla repeatedly made gestures, alternately, of putting her hand up to the window and then pointing to herself with her index finger. Am I the only one who thought she was expressing, “Aw, I’d like to hold that” and “I’ve got one, too”?

  2. I remember watching a British film on German television (1980s?) titled Mary’s Baby. I have never found the film here in the US. The film points out the maternal instincts of we apes.

  3. Simply lovely. So much going on here. I was hoping the human mother might have pressed her hand against the gorilla’s hand on the window but Mom’s have a lot to do, including basking in such moments. And no, Openidname you weren’t the only one.

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