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Baby Gorilla At San Diego Zoo Safari Park Crawling And Curious

Above: Joanne, a 5-month-old baby gorilla at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, watches her mother eat kale in their enclosure, Aug. 29, 2014.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park's baby gorilla, Joanne, is learning to crawl and can be seen sitting and eating by herself confidently, according to the park.

The now 5-month-old gorilla rides on mother Imani's back usually, but when Imani pauses or stops to forage, baby Joanne will climb off and spend time sitting and crawling around the nearby area.

Animal care staff report that Joanne is much more active now that she is a little older, taking fewer naps and sampling solid foods. She is estimated to now have eight teeth, enough to help her chew her favorite fruits and veggies: kale and grapes cut in half.

While her primary source of nutrition is still from nursing, the growing gorilla is curious of any food items that her mother is eating and she watches as Imani forages, mimicking those behaviors by picking up fruits and veggies on her own.

"We've seen Joanne crawl away from Imani a little bit while she's sitting on exhibit," Safari Park keeper Jami Pawlowski said. "Imani always keeps her eye on her but Joanne is testing out her independence and seeing how far she can get."

Joanne, named in honor of Joanne Warren, the first chairwoman of the San Diego Zoo Global Foundation, was born at the Safari Park on March 12 after a rare emergency C-section was needed.

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