Dotty the baby gorilla was all alone. Her mom was too sick to care for her. Experts at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium put Dotty in a program that pairs orphaned babies with new moms. While keepers watched, Dotty sat in an "introduction cage" so other gorillas could safely see her through a mesh fence. Pongi the female gorilla sat next to the fence. The two touched tongues—a special gorilla greeting. When the keepers let Pongi into Dotty's cage, Dotty crawled onto Pongi's lap. They've been "family" ever since.
FAMILY FIRST One day, Dotty seemed to be choking. A human volunteer rushed to help. But Dotty, who had recovered, ran straight to Pongi. “It was like Dotty was saying, 'I found someone better,'" says volunteer Barb Jones.
Text by Sean McCollum
Photograph by Lawrence Weslowski Jr., Dreamstime
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