By CHRIS SLACK
Look at him now: A vet checks the heart of Yakini the gorilla during a general check-up he received before moving to a new zoo in Australia
He was the tiny gorilla who enchanted people around the world with his reaction when having his heart tested just after his birth in 1999.
But Yakini the gorilla is no longer the sweet baby captured in the endearing picture below.
He is now a gigantic 245lb beast who has to be sedated by vets to be examined.
These pictures were captured when the 12-year-old gorilla was undergoing a medical check-up ahead of a move to a new home in Australia.
Yakini and his brother Ganyeka and father Motaba will form part of a multimillion pound 6000 square metre exhibit at the Werribee Open Range Zoo.
The primate was the last of the three animals to be moved, with vets taking the chance to provide him with a thorough examination - after struggling to get him onto the examination table.
As well as again checking his heart as in the famous image, they also took the opportunity to cut his nails.
Cute: The baby Yakini receives his heart check shortly after he was born in the image that made him famous
Fortunately he was given a clean bill of health and will now travel to the site where he will stay until he can join the gorilla breeding programme.
Yakini's vet told Sky News Australia: 'Yakini doesn't have any health problems at the moment, all three of them look very healthy, so it's really just an opportunity for a general check.'
Yakini became a media darling after the image of him squishing up his face was circulated shortly after his birth.
He had a tough early life after he was found to not be breathing and hardly having a pulse after his birth.
Keepers at Melbourne Zoo nursed him back to health and the media attention meant he became a popular attraction at the zoo and famous across the globe.
Clean bill of health: Vets cleared Yakini following the check-up and he will now move to the new zoo before joining the gorilla breeding programme
The young Yakini was so popular he was even visited by the Queen.
And in 2009 he again hit the headlines, not for a cute photo, but because he managed to escape from his pen for a 20-minute walkabout.
Using a palm he clambered out of his pen before keepers ushered him back inside using the lure of bananas.
Friday, November 4, 2011
By CHRIS SLACK