Gorilla back in Cincinnati Zoo after long California stay

FILE - In this 2016 file photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the silverback gorilla Ndume picks up a toy at The Gorilla Foundation's preserve in California's Santa Cruz mountains. Documents in federal court in San Francisco show that The Gorilla Foundation balked at a June 4, 2019 return requested by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, saying Ndume has a bacterial infection that could worsen during a stressful move.

CINCINNATI (AP) — A male silverback gorilla is slated to return to the Ohio zoo where he was born, after a months-long court battle.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco ruled recently that The Gorilla Foundation in California must transfer 37-year-old Ndume (nnn-DOO'-may) Thursday to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Cincinnati Zoo officials declined to discuss transfer plans until after Ndume is back.

Zoo officials sought to bring Ndume home after Koko, the gorilla famed for learning sign language, died last June and left Ndume by himself. He was loaned to the foundation in 1991 to be Koko's companion.

Zoo officials and animal rights groups disagreed with the foundation's argument that the transfer would harm Ndume. Seeborg said there should be no further delays.

The foundation issued a statement Wednesday.

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