Baby Gorilla Hitches Ride on Mom

Joanne, the park's three-month-old gorilla, was born on March 12 via rare emergency C-section

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Ken Bohn
    Joanne takes a cozy ride on mom Imani's back at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on July 3, 2014.

    Every kid enjoys a good piggyback ride on mom once in a while – even a baby gorilla.

    The San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s youngest gorilla – three-month-old Joanne – was spotted doing just that on Thursday, enjoying a ride on her mother Imani’s back.

    According to zookeepers, this adorable balance act is a skill tiny Joanne recently mastered.

    Keepers said the baby gorilla has been growing and gaining some independence over the last few months, reaching big milestones like riding on her mom’s back and crawling. She’s said to be right on track with her development for her age.

    Joanne was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on March 12 via rare emergency C-section. Two days later, she suffered a collapsed lung and had to undergo treatment. She received around-the-clock care until she made a full recovery.

    Since then, she’s been growing stronger by the day, getting to know other members of the gorilla troop and sharing important bonding time with her mother.

    Joanne – named in honor of Joanne Warren, the first chairwoman of the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global – was Imani’s first baby and the 17th gorilla to be born at Safari Park. The facility currently houses eight gorillas. Two male gorillas in the troop, Monroe and Frank, were also born in San Diego in 2011 and 2008, respectively.