Jameela, a prematurely born baby gorilla from the Fort Worth Zoo, has found a new nurturing environment at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Following unsuccessful attempts to establish a surrogacy relationship within her birth zoo, the decision was made to relocate the 11-week-old western lowland gorilla in hopes of better integrating her into a gorilla family.

Upon her arrival, several members of the Cleveland gorilla troop showed interest, particularly Fredrika, affectionately known as “Freddy,” who has a history of successful surrogacy, and Kayembe, a young gorilla eager to interact with Jameela.

Image/Story Source Credit: NBC DFW via YouTube Video

The necessity for surrogacy arose after Jameela’s biological mother, Sekani, displayed a lack of maternal interest post-emergency C-section, likely due to missing hormonal cues usually triggered by natural childbirth. Efforts to pair Jameela with other potential surrogates at the Fort Worth Zoo, including Gracie and Winifred, did not yield the progress needed for a successful mother-infant bond.

Dedicated to ensuring Jameela’s upbringing among her species, Fort Worth Zoo collaborated with national partners to find a suitable environment for her. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, with its experienced surrogate, Freddy, emerged as the ideal setting for Jameela’s continued development.

Image/Story Source Credit: NBC DFW via YouTube Video

Despite the heartache of parting with Jameela, the Fort Worth Zoo remains hopeful for her future and looks forward to potentially welcoming her back when circumstances allow. Jameela’s journey underscores the complexities of gorilla surrogacy and the collaborative efforts of zoological institutions to prioritize the well-being of these endangered animals.

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