Thursday, June 24, 2004

New Orleans Zoo gorilla getting video sex education

A gorilla sex video is getting regular play at the New Orleans Zoo. Casey, 21, came to New Orleans two years ago on permanent loan from the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minn. The hope was that he might impregnate one or all of the Audobon Zoo's three female land gorillas. But he's not cooperating.

The zoo curator, Dan Maloney, said how animals choose each other is still poorly understood but they are hoping Casey gets the hang of it. He sees part of the problem as Casey coming from an all-bachelor group.

To give him some sex education, Maloney got a tape of copulating gorillas from a camera used to monitor another zoo's gorilla area. It's played in the indoor cage where Casey spends his nights. He's watching it but has not seemed very interested yet.

Chinese veterinarians used a similar strategy to teach a panda born in captivity in the United States what she might expect from suitors. The Beijing Post reported recently that Hua Mei, whose name means "China-America," is pregnant by natural means and is due in September.

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