Breakdancing gorilla takes social media by storm - CBS46 News

Breakdancing gorilla takes social media by storm

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 A Western lowland gorilla was filmed dancing in his pool at a Zoo in Dallas, and it didn't take long for social media to turn him into a superstar.

Zola is a 14-year-old gorilla, and he's the youngest member of the bachelor troop.

The pool exercise is part of a larger enrichment program that the Dallas Zoo does for its animals.

Click here to watch the unedited version of the video that the zoo originally shared.

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums defines enrichment as a process to ensure that the behavioral and physical needs of an animal are being met by providing opportunities for species-appropriate actions and choices.

Enrichment helps enhance the environment and lives of animals by providing them with mental and physical stimulation to increase natural and healthy behavior, which is an important component in caring for all zoo animals.

The zoo said primate enrichment is among the most complex and varied, and described the process in a press release:

Enrichment can take many forms; it can be an object such as a ball, a scent like an herb or perfume, visual stimulation such as a mirror, a change in an animal’s company or location, an activity like painting or training, introduction of a new food, or a challenging food presentation.

Zola’s “dancing” is really just a play behavior, [and] play is a natural behavior present in a wide array of animals. In fact, the presence of play can signify an animal is content or comfortable, and it is recognized as an indicator for general welfare. It is easy for anyone to appreciate the good time that Zola is having in the pool because we recognize some of the same signs of play that we see in people.

The big, blue pool featured in the video is one of several tools the zoo uses to engage primates. 

The zoo says it's something about water that gives Zola the urge to just dance.

Here's Zola dancing in 2011 when he was 9 years old.

Gorillas in the wild have been observed to willingly enter the water to feed or to cross to other areas. Some gorillas have even been documented using long sticks to probe beneath the water and gauge depth for safe passage. (Their bodies are too dense to swim).

Some say he was doing it in remembrance of the late Harambe.

Story written by CBS46 Digital Content Producer Chris Price.

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