Gorilla In France Lives With Zoo Manager
7:06pm 29th June 2011
(Updated 3:04am 30th June 2011)
A gorilla in France is living with a zoo manager and his wife in their home.
Digit, a 13-year-old female, spends her days in an enclosure with other animals at a zoo near Lyon.
But at night, she goes to stay with Pierre Thivillon and his wife Elianne who consider her one of the family.
Digit, who weighs 120kg, even sleeps on the couple's bed.
The arrangement started when Digit's mother refused to breast feed her and has stuck.
Mr Thivillon says: "It's going very well, because we have a 13-year-old relationship with Digit so obviously we have created a very strong bond with each other."
Initially, Digit's brother also lived with the couple but that ended when he became too aggressive.
The couple, who have never had children, are happy to forego nights out in order to care for their unusual pet.
Even the zoo's vet Jean-Christophe Gerard is surprised at the close bond that has developed between the gorilla and her adoptive parents.
"It's an animal. It can have reactions. It can react violently to things it doesn't like," Mr Gerard said.
"It's a female that was never aggressive with Pierre or Elianne so there has never been any behaviour or other concerns.
"They respect her, they have established a relationship with her, which is stable for the moment."