A gorilla has found a new home in Cincinnati in a first for the city's zoo since its highly criticized decision to fatally shoot Harambe.
Mshindi is a 29-year-old western lowland gorilla who arrived in Cincy from the Louisville Zoo.
He was transferred to Cincinnati as part of a multi-zoo collaborative move recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, according to a statement.
The gorilla will first make himself at home in the outdoor habitat before being introduced to females Chewie, 21, and Mara, 22.
“Mshindi has settled in nicely,” said Ron Evans, the Cincinnati Zoo’s Curator of Primates. “We worked closely with Louisville Zoo’s gorilla staff to learn Mshindi’s trained behaviors for body presentations and health exams and to get familiar with his likes and dislikes. When working with highly intelligent animals like the great apes, it’s imperative for keepers from both zoos involved in a transfer to collaborate and exchange detailed information to ensure a smooth transition.”
Mshindi's introduction also comes as a reminder of a male gorilla that met his controversial end last year.
Harambe was killed by zoo officials last year to protect a 4-year-old boy who fell into the habitat. Zoo officials stood by their decision after a firestorm erupted online over his killing.
In addition to widespread outrage sparked by video of the 2016 incident, the deceased gorilla became a meme that continues to persist to this day.
It is viral fame that Cincinnati Zoo officials would like to put behind them. And they appear to be doing so with additions like Mshindi and with a remodeled indoor habitat for the apes.
"The zoo’s gorilla groups will rotate outside daily until Gorilla World closes on October 3 for final renovations on the new indoor habitat," the zoo said in a statement. "If you don’t catch a glimpse of him in the next few weeks, there will be many more viewing opportunities when the zoo’s new indoor facility opens later this year!"