First gorilla baby: Mzuri
Baby gorilla Mzuri with his mother Yuska and keeper Uli Weiher, Melbourne Zoo, c 1984
Melbourne Zoo Archives
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Mzuri gained international fame as the first surviving gorilla born as a result of artificial insemination. In addition to this, he was the first gorilla born on Australian shores. As a result, Mzuri became a media sensation and a Melbourne Zoo crowd favourite.
Mzuri was born in 1984 to parents Yuska and Rigo, who had arrived at Melbourne Zoo five years earlier. Due to being raised in captivity, some animals do not have the skills required to raise their young. Mzuri had to be hand-raised by zoo staff, a practice that is avoided, wherever possible, to avoid humanising the animals.
The Victorian public became very attached to Mzuri, seeing him grow up through the media and vistits to the Zoo. When the time came for him to be transferred to Jersey Wildlife Park to take part in an international breeding program, there were many expressions of sorrow from the public.
The Zoo Story, Catherine de Courcy, Penguin, 1995
150 years Melbourne Zoo, Zoos Victoria, Bounce Books, 2012