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    The San Francisco Zoo welcomed its newest member on Dec. 8: a six pound baby gorilla.

    San Francisco Zoo curators and veterinarians are continuing to  monitor a baby gorilla that was abandoned by his mother while they train a  surrogate mother to take her place.

    Curator of primates Corinne MacDonald said today the nearly  3-week-old gorilla is eating and sleeping most of the time and that he is  healthy and strong.

    "When he is awake, he is very much alert," MacDonald said.

    After several attempts at unifying the baby gorilla with his birth  mother, who detached herself from her infant almost immediately after giving  birth, the veterinary staff at the zoo placed the baby gorilla in the care of  human caregivers. He lives in one of the rooms in the adult building where  adult gorillas have constant visual contact with him, MacDonald said.

    The veterinary staff is now training Bawang, a mother of three,  who will become a surrogate mother for the first time.

    MacDonald said the training process is long but it is going well.

    "She is one of the smartest gorillas we have," MacDonald said.

    The union between the baby gorilla and his surrogate mother will  depend not only on the progress of her training but also on the baby  gorilla's strength and readiness.

    Monifa, the baby gorilla's birth mother, is doing well and is  showing some interest toward her infant, MacDonald said. She will come over  and look at him, but she does not display as much interest in him as the baby  gorilla's father or the other adult gorillas.

    The veterinary staff has yet to decide on a name for the baby  gorilla.