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The once-abandoned baby is surrounded by gorilla buddies on his big day

By Kate Hogan
Updated December 08, 2009 11:43 PM
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Happy birthday, little guy! After a somewhat tumultuous, touching year, Hasani the gorilla turned 1 today with a celebration at the San Francisco Zoo. The baby – whose mother, Monifa, rejected him and was instead raised by staffers and a surrogate – partied alongside fellow gorillas and even enjoyed an icy treat.

According to primate curator Corinne MacDonald, Hasani has “become an ambassador for his species,” growing and developing into a healthy, happy adult. He now weighs 19.8 lbs. and recently switched from infant formula to regular milk. He’s also eating solid foods – his favorites are yams, grapes and lettuce – and is even chest beating like a true gorilla. “It’s been amazing to watch him develop and grow,” MacDonald says. “To know he is impacting and inspiring our visitors is rewarding.”

Slowly, Hasani has integrated with his gorilla family, including his birth mom, and has enjoyed playing with his father, Oscar Jonesy. To document his growth, the zoo is planning to launch a live stream of the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on sfzoo.org. We wish Hasani many more years of happiness!

Meet infant Hasani in our gallery, From Baby to Gorilla! Hasani Grows Up!