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Lincoln Park Zoo's Baby Gorilla Recovering From Facial Injury

By Samantha Abernethy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 1, 2013 11:20PM

One of Lincoln Park Zoo's infant gorillas suffered a facial injury recently that required emergency surgery, and officials now say she is showing positive signs of recovery.

“We have passed through a critical stage," said Megan Ross, Ph.D. vice president of animal care. "She’s vigorous and playful - playing 4 to 5 hours per day and getting a lot of sleep as all infants should.”

Zookeepers aren't sure how three-month-old Nayembi was injured on Feb. 20. Zoo President Kevin Bell said last week that "it appears to have been inflicted by another gorilla," but "there were no prior indications of aggression in the gorilla troop." The zoo's veterinarian said Nayembi "sustained a major injury of both bone and soft tissue."

Nayembi is still under 24-hour human care, but she's doing well. “We’re thrilled with how she’s responding,” says Ross. “We’re seeing a lot of normal baby behaviors—crawling, exploring, putting toys in her mouth.”

It's unclear if she will ever rejoin the group at the Regenstein Center for African Apes. Zoo employees say they'll hand-rear her if need be. In the meantime, life for Nayembi's mother Rollie and the rest of the gorillas are getting back to normal.