'Handsome' gorilla delights female zoo-goers in Japan

Shabani, a "buff" gorilla at the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, has been branded "very good looking" by his human admirers.

By Ben Hooper
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NAGOYA, Japan, June 26 (UPI) -- Officials at a Japanese zoo said a gorilla branded "too handsome" online is proving popular with the country's human ladies.

Shabani, an 18-year-old gorilla at the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, has proven popular with Twitter users and zoo visitors who have dubbed him "too handsome" and "ikemen," a "good-looking man."


Zoo officials said young women hoping to get into the good graces of the gorilla with the chiseled features and brooding poses might be disappointed to learn he has two wives of his own species, Ai and Nene.

The gorilla is also said to be a doting and protective father for offspring Kiyomasi and Annie.

Zoo spokesman Takayushi Ishikawa told CNN Shabani's sudden popularity was "totally unexpected."

"It's a perfect example of the Internet society... we were very surprised by the phenomenon," he said.

Officials said Shabani now regularly has a crowd of about 100 people watching whenever he comes out to greet the public.


"He's more buff than most gorillas and he's at his peak physically. We've seen a rise in the number of female visitors. Women say he's very good-looking," Ishikawa told the BBC.

"He seems to have noticed his new popularity, but he's kept it very cool," the spokesman said.

Madeleine Smitham, a media relations officer at Australia's Taronga Zoo, Shabani's former home, said he wasn't always a heartbreaker.

"I have seen quite an early photo of him and he's not the handsome man that he is today," she told The Telegraph.

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