This update was written by primate keeper Melba Brown.
‘Tis the season for colds and flu—not only for humans, but for our western lowland gorillas and orangutans as well. In keeping with our health care regimen, our 7-month-old gorilla infant Moke had his first flu shot.
In a previous #GorillaStory update, I mentioned that keeper play sessions with Moke were not only fun but also purposeful. He is now acclimated to keepers touching his body, including his head, hands, feet, belly and so forth as part of our positive reinforcement husbandry training program. During these sessions, Moke developed a behavior where he would turn his back and lift up his leg, resting his foot against the mesh. One day, flanked by both his parents, he turned around and hoisted that leg up, at which point the vaccine was successfully injected. He did not even flinch! True to his remarkable persona, Moke simply turned around and accepted a grape halve, as did Calaya and Baraka.