It’s the picture that will never get old. In the past few days on Twitter this photo duo has been doing the rounds with this caption: “A newborn baby gorilla at Melbourne Zoo gets a checkup at the hospital and shows surprise at the coldness of the stethoscope.”

Picture: David Caird

It’s not hard to see why people want to share this. Many of us are seeing it for the first time, but it was taken just after the birth of Yakini in November 1999. Why it’s cropped up on social media in the last 24 hours isn’t clear.

The Punch spoke to Herald Sun photographer David Caird, who took these and probably thousands of other pictures of Yakini, over a six-month period when the baby gorilla was being hand-raised after a very difficult birth.

Caird said he spent so much time with Yakini, who know lives in a cushy new “bachelors” enclosure at the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Victoria, that the bub got to know him.

Picture: David Caird

“I took a picture of him one day and he had his hands up towards me. I didn’t realise until I looked at the photo that had his hands like he was holding a camera, with his left finger on the button. He was mimicking me.”

Picture: David Caird

Caird went on to publish two books of photos of Yakini, and last saw him during a visit to Werribee for the gorilla’s 12th birthday.

Picture: David Caird

“I’m actually going to shoot gorillas right now, it’s spooky”, Caird said, when I told him Yakini was the flavour of the day on Twitter.

“Who knows why these things go off. These pictures were taken in a early-internet age, before social media. If you haven’t seen something before when you see it for the first time you think it’s new.

“Suddenly everything that’s old is new again.”

Picture: David Caird

Melbourne Zoo spokeswoman Judith Henkey told The Punch:

“Yakini was born on Nov 28, 1999.  His mother Yuska is still here at Melbourne Zoo, but Yakini, his father Motaba, and half-brother Ganyeka moved down to our sister zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, last year, into a beautiful new bachelor group exhibit.

Picture: David Caird

“Yakini is also the half-brother of the first gorilla ever born in Australia, Melbourne Zoo’s Mzuri, born in 1984 – same mother, different father.”

Most commented

16 comments

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    • scumbag says:

      03:22pm | 08/08/12

      Good God. That’s my Facebook photo!

    • Bitten says:

      03:22pm | 08/08/12

      Awesome. That is all.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      03:37pm | 08/08/12

      Ultra cool. Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary are awesome places.

    • Babylon in Canberra says:

      04:37pm | 08/08/12

      Yep, they are.

      At Healesville it’s Well worth spending $10 and getting in the enclosure with the animals and Ranger. In Victoria you cannot pat Koalas anymore, but you can get up close in these sessions. Includes feeding the Roos.

      Werribee offer the same experience except it’s more exciting given the exotic animals. There Bus tour is magnificent. Early doors they feed the animals along the bus track.

    • che says:

      03:53pm | 08/08/12

      So cute it actually hurts.

    • sunny says:

      04:08pm | 08/08/12

      What a classic little guy. The picture on the left he looks like he’s listening to a long joke and it’s just before the punchline. Then the picture on the right he’s finally heard the punchline.

    • Mark says:

      05:00pm | 08/08/12

      Animals are worth saving and don’t underestimate their intelligence .They also love and have feelings that can be hurt. I think some people can learn from these wonderful creatures.

    • Ross says:

      10:28am | 09/08/12

      Is it any wonder why we love these animals.

    • Sophie says:

      12:18pm | 09/08/12

      Animals are beautiful.

    • hey says:

      10:57am | 10/08/12

      What a wonderful old soul he has. You can see it in his eyes.Thankyou to the humans who look after these threatened species.

    • hey says:

      10:59am | 10/08/12

      What a wonderful old soul he has. You can see it in his eyes.Thankyou to the humans who look after these threatened species.

    • hey says:

      10:58am | 10/08/12

      What a wonderful old soul he has. You can see it in his eyes.Thankyou to the humans who look after these threatened species.

    • hey says:

      10:58am | 10/08/12

      What a wonderful old soul he has. You can see it in his eyes.Thankyou to the humans who look after these threatened species.

    • hey says:

      10:58am | 10/08/12

      What a wonderful old soul he has. You can see it in his eyes.Thankyou to the humans who look after these threatened species.

    • Carolyn RJ says:

      09:31am | 14/08/12

      Yakini is so much, much, much more gorgeous and cuter than every single human baby I’ve ever seen during my lifetime! (IMHO, most non-human animal babies are…..).

    • Carolyn RJ says:

      09:52am | 14/08/12

      What a sweet little expressionful face and beautiful eyes! Sigh…...Yakini is so much, much, much more gorgeous, and way cuter than every single human baby I’ve ever seen in my lifetime (and I’ve seen enough!). But then again, IMHO, the majority of non-human animal babies are….............

 

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