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Gorilla originally born at Cincinnati Zoo set to return home

CINCINNATI — A silverback gorilla that was born at the Cincinnati Zoo is headed back to that zoo following the death of the famed gorilla Koko.

The 37-year-old gorilla Ndume (nnn-DOO’-may) was born in Cincinnati in 1981, before moving to California in 1991 to serve as a social companion for Koko. The Gorilla Species Survival Plan recommended Ndume move back to Cincinnati following Koko’s death in June.

The gorilla is in good physical condition and is behaviorally normal. A transfer date has not been determined, but officials have requested the move take place as soon as possible so that Ndume can begin the socialization process with other gorillas.

Western lowland gorillas like Ndume are considered to be a critically endangered species, with fewer than 175,000 found in the wild.