A 430-pound gorilla named Patrick is popular with the staff at the Dallas Zoo, but keepers have decided to transfer him after repeated attempts to make him more sociable with other gorillas -- especially the ladies.
“We’ve made a colossal effort to work with him,” Dallas Zoo’s deputy director Lynn Kramer told the Dallas Morning News. “He’s definitely a staff favorite and he would have been a successful leader for a troupe here. But it was not to be.”
Patrick was neglected by his mother and raised by humans, so he's always had problems bonding with members of his own species.
"We’ve tried for years to create social relationships for Patrick, with little success," the zoo explained on Facebook. "Two separate female groups were introduced to him, but he was indifferent and the relationships never progressed to a stable social grouping."
In one instance, Patrick nipped at females introduced to him for companionship. When Patrick figured out he was bigger than them, "he began exerting more dominance." The females "became so stressed that they couldn’t eat."
The zoo said that Patrick would be able to live in his own enclosure at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, S.C.
"We’re saddened to tell you it’s time to say “see you later” to Patrick, the beloved Western lowland gorilla who has lived with us for 18 years. The personable silverback soon will be moving to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, S.C.," the Dallas Zoo said in a statement to its Facebook page. "Our staff will really miss the 23-year-old Patrick, and we know you will, too. We’ve tried for years to create social relationships for him. While he loves people, he’s been indifferent to other gorillas."
The Dallas Zoo also tried to dispel media myths about Patrick's departure.
"Please don't believe everything you read on the internet" the zoo added later.
Patrick isn't going away for "therapy" and he's not "antisocial." He is simply socialized more to people than to gorillas, so he prefers to be alone. This carefully planned move has been years in the making, involving gorilla experts from across the nation, and is the best move for him and for our Zoo.