Judge Weighs in on California Group's Dispute With Ohio Zoo Over Gorilla - NBC Southern California

Judge Weighs in on California Group's Dispute With Ohio Zoo Over Gorilla

The zoo sought to bring Ndume home after Koko, the gorilla famed for learning sign language, died last June and left Ndume by himself

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    Ron Evans/Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden via AP, File
    In this 2016 photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Ndume stands in The Gorilla Foundation’s preserve in California’s Santa Cruz mountains. The Cincinnati Zoo is suing for the return of Ndume, a gorilla loaned to the conservatory in 1991 as a companion for Koko, the gorilla famed for mastering sign language.

    A federal judge has again ordered a California group to return a male silverback gorilla who to the Ohio zoo where he was born.

    U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg ruled Friday in San Francisco that northern California's Gorilla Foundation must transfer 37-year-old Ndume to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Thursday.

    Zoo officials sought to bring Ndume home after Koko, the gorilla famed for learning sign language, died last June and left Ndume by himself. He was loaned to the foundation in 1991 to be Koko's companion with the proviso he'd return to Cincinnati after her death.

    The foundation argued as late as this week the transfer would harm Ndume. Zoo officials, animal rights groups and, most importantly, Seeborg disagreed.

    Messages seeking comment with the foundation were left Saturday.

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