Waking Babs

Babs died yesterday at age 30, after a four month battle with kidney disease. So her family and friends did what most family and friends do.

They held a wake and said goodbye.

The thing is, Babs was a mountain gorilla. Her wake, organized by keepers at the Zoo, was reported in today's Trib.

Here's how reporter William Mullen described it:

Babs' 9-year-old daughter, Bana, was the first to file down to the body.

"It was heartbreaking to see," said Amy Coons, a gorilla keeper for the last six years. "Bana came in with this stunned look on her face."

Babs' mother, Alpha, 43, followed. There was Beta, a 43-year-old female, and Binti Jua, 16. Nadaya, a 3-year-old male, came, and Koola, 9, brought her infant daughter, whom Babs had showered with attention since her August birth.

Only the silverback male leader, Ramar, 36, stayed away.

Bana sat down next to Babs' head and held one of her dead mother's hands in one of her own, stroking her mother's stomach with the other.

"Then she laid down on the floor next to Babs," said Betty Green, a gorilla keeper for the last 17 years, "putting her head on Babs' outstretched arm.

"It was like they used to do in the exhibit, lying side by side on the mountain. Then Bana rose up and looked at us and moved to Babs' other side, tucked her head under the other arm, and stroked Babs' stomach."


Powered by Blogger