LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Since the early 2000’s the gorilla sanctuary has been one of the most popular exhibits at the Louisville Zoo, but recently some visitors have been getting a little more than they bargained for thanks to their cell phones.
“We had just walked into the gorilla enclosure, and I was actually looking at the baby gorilla. We were getting ready to leave,” said Lindsey Costello. “I turned and I saw this lady sitting on a bench by the window, and the gorilla is right next to her, and she’s showing the gorilla video.”
Over the next twenty minutes, Lindsey Costello sat with Jelani showing him videos of other gorillas, and a friend snapped this picture which quickly went viral, but she says it doesn’t show the gorilla’s true talents.
“If he got tired of a video he’d move his hand up and swipe,” said Costello. “If I moved the phone away he’d stretch it out. He intimately enjoyed the videos.”
“They really appreciate having people come and hang out with them, sit and show them pictures, and do interesting things,” said Jill Katka. “We have some older female gorillas that really love children.”
Assistant Mammal Curator Jill Katka says that Jelani learned to love technology at a young age which has helped him go viral multiple times, drawing attention to a critically endangered species.
“He kind of grew up looking at pictures and hanging out with people,” said Katka. “That just makes him a wonderful ambassador for gorillas.”
I want people to get how much of an intellectual these animals are, and how compassionate and caring they truly are. They’re not just wild crazy animals in captivity. They actually have a heart.
Everyone who comes to the Louisville Zoo is helping protect animals like Jelani in the wild.
Portions of every entry fee go toward the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund and Pan African Sanctuary Alliance which help protect primate welfare.