Zoo gorilla doing well day after surgery

A gorilla at the Knoxville Zoo is up and about, just one day after he had surgery to repair a broken leg.

Wanto, a 37 year old silverback gorilla, broke his right femur in what zoo officials called a "freak accident" on Monday, while climbing bars in the indoor courtyard of his exhibit. His keepers think he may have been trying to avoid the three female gorillas in his group who like to tease him.

The surgery was a little risky, since he's considered an "old man" in gorilla years and has an existing heart condition, but zoo officials wanted to give him the best chance to get better.

More: Knoxville Zoo gorilla undergoes surgery for broken leg

On Wednesday, a UT Medical Center doctor who normally treats human trauma patients performed the surgery on the 385 pound primate' s leg at UT's College of Veterinary Medicine, and all went well.

Mammal Curator Amy Flew said that zoo keepers stayed with Wanto until 10pm Wednesday night, and he was sitting up and drinking. He was also "grumbling," which Flew said is his way of saying hello.

Thursday, Wanto was walking around slowly on his injured leg and spending some alone time in an indoor area.

Wanto's caretakers said he's doing well so far, and they won't rush his recovery.

"I think we're going to have to leave that up to him and see when he's ready. He's already up and around, so that's really great for him. We're going to take his recovery as fast as he wants to. He's on pain medication and antibiotics so that will help him along with his recovery," said Flew.

The zoo will have to decide if Wanto stays solo, or if he will be reintroduced to his three female companions.

Wanto's caretakers say they're giving him protein shakes, protein bars, and Gatorade to make sure he's getting the nutrients he needs. Gatorade Blue ice is apparently his favorite.


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