(CNN) – A celebration of 60 miraculous years for Colo the gorilla.
Audra Meinelt of the Congo Expedition Curator noted, “Gorillas were very rare and highly valuable and they didn’t actually trust them to be together.”
Back in the 50’s, Colo’s parents were kept apart, but a part-time worker named Warren Thomas broke the rules.
Meinelt explained, “He noticed every month the female, Millie Christina, would back up to the mesh enclosure by the male, so he stuck them together at night against the will of the zoo.”
Warren had to fess up when the gorilla got pregnant, then Colo almost didn’t make it. Warren intervened again when her mom gave birth and left Colo on the concrete.
Meinelt said, “Went in, picked her up, broke the sack, warmed her up and resuscitated her, so he’s really responsible for Colo in two separate ways.”
The first ever gorilla born in a zoo. It was unknown how to even care for her. That’s where Colo’s nurse, Lillian Teller, came in.
Teller said, “A pediatrician taught us how to take care of her like a premature baby.”
A caretaker could never enter the habitat now, but back then, Lillian snuggled Colo like an infant.
Lillian wouldn’t have missed this special occasion, along with so many others who’ve watched her grow up and age.