Great State: Mr. Big and Mr. Little

Posted on: 10:56 am, March 27, 2013, by

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — Strain your eyes. Shade them to see better, or even crane your neck.

You won’t see much of the baby gorilla born to mom Kelele on Valentine’s Day.

Leom is his name and mom isn’t even letting the curious boys in her troupe close enough to sniff.

Too near and she trundles him off to a safer distance.

Great Escape supervisor Robin Newby says, “When she had this new baby they were really interested in what it was making noises, what it was Mom was carrying around taking all the attention.”

Even at feeding time, Newby says the most you might see, for now, is the top of Leom’s hairy head.

“Mom will not put him down at all,” she says. “He’s completely with her.”

Across the six acre Great Escape at the OKC Zoo is an even bigger story in a literal sense.

Most people who look wouldn’t call the silverback named Togo cute but his arrival here is interesting too.

For the past ten years he’s been rooming with another male gorilla at the St. Paul, Minnesota Zoo.

This month, for the first time in a full decade, he’s living with two females.

When we visited he was chasing one of them and puffing out his stomach, which, experts say, is his way of trying to impress.

“It’s like he’s suddenly out of prison,” laughs a visitor.

“Yes,” agrees Newby. “A little like that but he also has a lot more responsibility with the ladies. He’s basically the new patriarch.”

Exploring new worlds and gaining new freedom. That’s what baby Leom will learn to do increasingly over the next few months.

That goes for Togo too. Both searches will contain rewards for the gorillas and the people who come to watch them.

Togo and Leom are housed separately within the Great Escape exhibit.

Both venture out in weather above 60 degrees. Both are more active in early mornings and late afternoons around feeding time.

For more information contact http://www.okzoo.com .