Digit, the gorilla, has the best of both world – a bit like Hannah Montana.
During the day she’s an animal entertainer. Prancing around inside her cage at the zoo near Lyon, France, the 120kg (265lbs) furry female has been delighting families for more than 10 years. At night she goes home with the zoo manager, Pierre Thivillon, where she lives with him and his wife Elaine as one of the family. Digit even sleeps in the couple’s bed.
Strange as the arrangement may seem it’s been a good one for both sides. When Digit was an infant her mother wouldn’t breast feed her, so the couple offered to take her in. It’s been 13-years later and as Thivillon says “…we have created a very strong bond with each other.”
That bond wasn’t created with Digit’s brother, who also came to live with the Thivillon’s as a baby, but became too aggressive as he got older and had to move out of the couple’s home.
Digit, on the other hand, has never had those aggressive tendencies and the closeness of the gorilla and her human parents is something that baffles even the zoo’s vet Jean-Christophe Gerard:
“It’s an animal. It can have reactions. It can react violently to things it doesn’t like. It’s a female that was never aggressive with Pierre or Elianne so there has never been any behavior or other concerns. They respect her, they have established a relationship with her, which is stable for the moment.”
And respect her they do. The Thivillons have given up nights out to stay at home with their huge, furry friend. And it’s something they don’t mind since they never had any children.
It’s a story that warms your heart and makes you wonder how close up humans really are to our gorilla counterparts. Perhaps much closer than some may think. [Sky News]