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Trainer says goodbye to gorilla after 29 years together in Omaha

Trainer Says Goodbye to Gorilla After 29 Years Together in Omaha

A gorilla and his trainer have been together for 29 years, but their relationship is coming to an end.

"He's actually settled down a lot since his younger years. He was much more aggressive like these younger boys are," Houser said.

Houser dedicated hundreds of hours teaching Tubby, and the two built a special trust.

"Just to be accepted by an animal into their social group, that'll make a keeper's day, you know, that's a big deal," Houser said. "He's gotten to be so good."

Houser watched Tubby grow into a well-behaved, 430-pound silverback gorilla, perfect for breeding at the zoo in Philadelphia.

"He's actually going to a real good situation," Houser said. "I feel extremely good about what Omaha's done with the gorilla program and Tubby is an ambassador of that."

Tubby leaves early Thursday morning, and Houser says after so many years together, Tubby will be missed.

"Philadelphia is going to like him," he said.

Houser is flying Tubby to his new home. He said he plans to stay in touch with the zoo keepers in Philadelphia.

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Hi Art & Nan February 22 2014 at 11:42 PM

Gorillas are intelligent creatures. Tubby will, no doubt, miss Houser and might even show signs of depression. While intelligent, he'll not understand why he's losing his "friend". What an awful thing to do to Tubby!!

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MyOpinion February 22 2014 at 11:30 PM

Why separate him at all? They can take his sperm and do IV on female gorillas rather than upset his routine and he may not ever want to mate because he'll be depressed. Idiots all around!

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sports February 22 2014 at 10:35 PM

He should incest he 's a Mexican Monkey,this way he could stay and get food stamps and Obama's medical coverage.

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hsdoughs February 22 2014 at 11:07 PM

That;s a supid thing to say

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DOUG February 22 2014 at 11:27 PM

My goodness, aren't you just the dumbest goof on the planet. I'm not even going to ask what your dumbass comment has to do with the story because it clearly has nothing to do with it. By the way moron, it's Insist, not Incest. Fell free to look up "Insist" in the dictionary. Ask your parents about the word "Incest".

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sass196 February 22 2014 at 10:17 PM

Yet another sad story of the great Silverback. Yes, they do have emotions. Going to Philadelphia, home of the the Freedom Bell. If any of you remember the great scientist, Dr. Jane Goodall who spent years of her life studying these "familial" species. Should she be alive today, she'd have a fit knowing a member of the species she studied is being sent to Philadelphia to be part of a "breeding pool". This poor, helpless creature cannot protect himself from the sick-minded humans who want to do this. They should find something else to do, more meaningful......being so cruel to place this highly intelligent SilverBack into a "breeding pool".........my suggestion is leave the poor Silverback alone and return him back to the land he came from.....what do they expect to gain from this cruelty...$$$$$. Of course. Not caring at all for the Silverback one iota.
I could say more about this cruel act....but I think I've stated my feelings clear enough. My reply to J.Schnardhorst

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ogates1 February 22 2014 at 10:35 PM

But the land he came from--there poachers will only hunt him down and chop him up. Humans are the cruelest creatures...

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BillJones February 22 2014 at 9:55 PM

As part of a class my then college son worked with the zoo and befriended a local Silver back gorilla. It took almost a year but by the end of the time, the gorilla knew my son when he would sit with his back to the glass waiting to "talk" to each other. They became friends that lasted long beyond the college project. Several years later the gorilla got sick and seemed depressed. We were amazed when my son was called in to come back so they could see how the gorilla would respond to him. It was a joyful reunion that allowed the handlers to better diagnose the problems besetting the gorilla. I would like to put an "ending" on this little story, but it was decades ago and I don't remember what happened after that. I do think the gorilla in this story will have withdrawal from his current trainer and would benefit from occasional visits, which the zoo should pay for.

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jen February 22 2014 at 10:07 PM

thank you for sharing that lovely story

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catidu February 22 2014 at 9:49 PM

why can't the trainer go with him for a few weeks so his transition will be easier?
work along with new trainer so it will make it easier for all.

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ogates1 February 22 2014 at 10:39 PM

Probably because it would cost and seems everything now-a-days is about turning a profit not about humanity or how to be less cruel to animals in our control.

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marianicole62 February 22 2014 at 9:25 PM

Not such a good idea. We will be reading soon about separation anxiety!

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Steelhead King February 22 2014 at 9:17 PM

Human`s should be put in cages in the jungles of the Congo so that the Gorilla`s, and all other primates can ogle over them. What is the difference, we are all animals. This also apply s to Orcas,
Lions, Tigers, Snakes, and well you get the picture. Who in the #!@*& do we think we are.
Oh sorry, it is about the money. The Gorilla`s can charge other Gorilla`s a few bananas to ogle at the Human`s in there cage.

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BoB February 22 2014 at 10:13 PM

who do we think we are? Democrats

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ogates1 February 22 2014 at 10:41 PM

You opened your mouth and left no doubt--your an idiot...

From a Liberal, Democracy-Loving Democrat!

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anrean February 22 2014 at 8:55 PM

We presume because we are the "superior" species that other species don't have the same cognitive skill set. Slowly we are confronted with the reality that many, if not all, of the critters we encounter do have cognitive abilities, and that some, like the gorilla, rival our own.

My guess is that Tubby will go through a great mourning period, which he shouldn't be subjected to in the first place just for the sake of humans' desires. I'm sure that people think they have taken care of Tubby;s needs, but much like our own species, will not be happy to be plucked from the only home he has known for 29 years and the human friend he has made.

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theharleymeanyou February 22 2014 at 8:36 PM

Sad but Sweet ... Houser can still Skype with " Tubby " Right ? Tubby will also be Sad for some time to come, I'd think ... Trauma will soon become Joy for " Tubby " I Hope and Pray ... Houser seems to have Faith in Phild... Will be a nice story to follow ... Hope they Post a Link to Follow Tubby's future ... His new Pals :)

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