A short-tempered male gorilla at Dallas Zoo is being moved to South Carolina for therapy after biting one female gorilla and sneering at others, zoo officials confirmed on Monday.
Patrick, a 430-pound (195-kg) Western lowland gorilla, will be transported to the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina, after showing a clear dislike for other females.
The South Carolina zoo is renowned for working with gorillas with behaviour problems.
Dallas Zoo officials said Patrick interacts well humans, but struggles with other gorillas, despite repeated efforts to socialize him females, in the hopes that he might engage with them and even mate.
Instead, he bit one female and sneered and nipped at others, leading zoo keepers to decide that the two decades he has spent in Dallas must come to an end.
Patrick was more tolerant of other male gorillas but seemed only to engage with Jabari, who was shot to death by Dallas police after he escaped in 2004 and injured three people.
“It's not like we haven't tried, he's been here for 18 years” said Laurie Holloway, a spokeswoman for the Dallas Zoo.
Because of his cantankerous behavior, Patrick has been isolated from the other gorillas.
John Davis, curator of mammals at the Riverbanks Zoo, said Patrick will initially be separated from the zoo's three other gorillas, all males, but will be able to see and smell them.
Eventually he will be introduced into the surroundings and zoo officials aren't ruling out the possibility that they can live together in a spacious, wooded bachelor pad, Davis said.
Born at the Bronx Zoo in 1990, Patrick was abandoned by his mother and then transferred to the Toronto Zoo, where he was hand-raised along with another male about the same age. At age 5, he was transferred to Dallas, according to zoo officials.
Because of his rearing, Patrick gets along well with people and is a popular favorite among visitors and zookeepers at the Dallas Zoo, Holloway said.
“He's beautiful and smart and everyone loves him,” Holloway said. “We're really sad to see him go but it's for the best for the zoo and for Patrick.”
Additional reporting by Reuters