One of the world’s largest primates has been caught on camera, showing what appears to be a mother’s unconditional love.
Massachusetts father Michael Austin filmed what is touted to be an incredible meeting between his wife, Emmelina, and a gorilla at Franklin Park Zoo–about 6 miles south of downtown Boston.
A video that has gone viral on social media shows an animal named Kiki exhibiting what appears to be maternal instincts. The gorilla and her own 7-month-old offspring, Pablo, can be seen peering through and touching the glass barrier, separating them from the couple’s 1-month-old baby called Canyon.
“Oh my God Michael, take a picture,” Emmelina can be heard saying. “That is so sweet. Look at her baby [Pablo,] oh my God.”
Kiki then tries to touch Canyon’s hand gently and even licks his tiny fingers through the glass. Emmelina watched in amazement at the gorilla’s uncanny behavior.
“She wants to hold his hand,” she said. “I knew by the way she is looking. Do you see her baby? That is so cool. It is like [she is saying,] ‘I am going to sit here and just cuddle the baby’–I love it!”
Although Emmelina and Kiki belong to completely different species, they quickly seemed to form a motherly connection through their children.
“My wife mentioned that she felt like she could understand their bond and could see how much she cared for Pablo, since she is a mother now herself,” the father said according to the Animal Channel.
Eventually, the gorilla decided it was time to introduce her son and brought him over to the glass barrier for a proper introduction.
“[She wants to] show her baby to my baby,” the mother can be heard saying on the video.
Another gorilla that could be the father or a relative stood nearby, watching the entire encounter.
“My wife held up our son to show to Kiki, who was on the other side of the enclosure … then Kiki grabbed Pablo and put him on her leg to carry him over to us,” the father said, according to the broadcaster.
“[Kiki] was talking to us with her hands. Pablo even pushed his face up to the glass at one point and they watched him, noses touching, together. My wife and I both had tears in our eyes.”
The baby gorilla also tried to reach for Canyon’s tiny hands.
Although Canyon is too young to understand the significance of the meeting, the parents are likely to treasure their memories for the rest of their lives.
“It was one of the most amazing experiences,” the father said, according to the broadcaster. “Such an incredible memory to share with our son someday!”
Zoo New England CEO John Linehan, responsible for Franklin Park Zoo, revealed the glass barrier is a necessary safety precaution.
“We always joke that if a baby fell into our exhibit, Kiki would not give it back,” he said according to the “TODAY” program.
“You would think it was even closer after watching Kiki with her babies. Kiki did not put Pablo down for the first two months, she literally held him 24/7, [and] she is just starting [to] allow her daughters to take him every once in a while for short periods of time,” he added.