10:21 AM EDT, April 2, 2013
One burly guy gets ready for work in a very interesting way. The first thing he does is put on a shaggy fur jacket.
What’s his job? It's not one you'd expect for a big dude with a beard.
He's a mommy to a baby gorilla.
Baby Gladys was born two months ago at a zoo in Texas but her mother refused to take care of her.
That's when Ron Evans and his staff at the Cincinnati Zoo stepped in. They adopted Gladys and care for her just like a gorilla mommy would, in shifts, working 24/7.
Gladys is fed with a bottle and they carry her around on their backs. They even groom her as roughly as a gorilla would.
Evans said, “When a female grooms her kid, they have tough nails and they’ll really get in there and pinch. And Gladys has tough skin too.”
He has even perfected a gorilla growl.
Evans said, “When I talk to Gladys, I use a gorilla accent.”
Eventually, the goal is to find an adult female gorilla to take care of Gladys and those fake fur suits that mimic gorilla hair are an important part of the process. The suits were donated by Fabulous Furs, a company that makes coats for people.
Evans said, “Gladys clings to this very nicely. She's on there like velcro.”
So far, baby Gladys is thriving. It turns out a big burly guy is a pretty good replacement for a mommy gorilla.