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City zoo calls baby gorilla a 'treasure'

A 17-MONTH-OLD male gorilla at Shanghai Zoo was named Hai Bei yesterday. He was the first gorilla born in the city and the second on China's mainland, zoo officials said.

Hai Bei means "treasure of Shanghai" and was selected by the public from six candidates. The pronunciation of the name is similar to the word "happy," expressing Shanghai people's wishes that the gorilla grows happily in the city.

Hai Bei now weighs about 15 kilograms, 13 kilograms heavier than at birth. Although milk was his main diet, he started eating solid foods after his teeth started to come in at 12 months. His keepers said he eats fruit such as apples and bananas as well as hard-boiled eggs for protein.

He loves his mother Astra the most and started to get to know his dad Dango when he was nine months old. Hai Bei also enjoys spending time with his aunt Quenta. The four live together, but apart from another gorilla at the zoo.

"They cannot be put together, or they will fight," said Xiong Chengpei, director of the zoo.

Hai Bei can now climb up ropes and other things in their home, but still turns to his mother and aunt for comfort.

Hai Bei's family was given to Shanghai Zoo by Amsterdam in the Netherlands as a gift for World Expo 2010.


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