By Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) – A gregarious male gorilla at the Dallas Zoo will be sent to South Carolina for therapy after he bit one female gorilla and sneered at others, zoo officials said on Monday.
Patrick, a 430-pound Western lowland gorilla, will be moving to the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina, where he will live the bachelor life in his own digs.
The South Carolina zoo is known for working with gorillas with behavior problems.
Dallas Zoo officials said Patrick gets along fine with humans but not with other gorillas.
They said they have tried repeatedly to socialize him with the other gorillas, particularly the females, in the hopes that he might get along and even breed. Instead, he bit one female and sneered and nipped at others.
“It’s not like we haven’t tried, he’s been here for 18 years” said Laurie Holloway, a spokeswoman for the Dallas Zoo.
Patrick was more tolerant of other male gorillas but seemed only to engage with Jabari, who was shot to death by Dallas police after he escaped in 2004 and injured three people.
Because of his cranky behavior, Patrick has been kept in his own habitat separate from the other gorillas.
The Dallas Zoo needs to reclaim Patrick’s space because it recently acquired two new males from the Calgary Zoo, including Zola, a break-dancing gorilla who stars in a video that has gone viral on the Internet.
John Davis, curator of mammals at the Riverbanks Zoo, said that initially Patrick will be separated from the zoo’s three other gorillas, all males, but will be able to see and smell them.
Eventually Patrick will be introduced to the guys and zoo officials aren’t ruling out the possibility that they can live together in a spacious, wooded bachelor pad, Davis said.
Born at the Bronx Zoo in 1990, Patrick was abandoned by his mother and then transferred to the Toronto Zoo, where he was hand-raised along with another male about the same age. At age 5, he was transferred to Dallas, zoo officials said.
Because of his rearing, Patrick gets along well with people and is a popular favorite among visitors and zookeepers at the Dallas Zoo, Holloway said.
“He’s beautiful and smart and everyone loves him,” Holloway said. “We’re really sad to see him go but it’s for the best for the zoo and for Patrick.”