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. A judge has ordered the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and a gorilla conservatory to resolve a custody dispute over the gorilla loaned as a companion to Koko, the late gorilla famed for mastering sign language. (Ron Evans/Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden via AP, File)

Gorilla Fans Await Word of Ndume’s Return to Cincinnati Zoo

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CINCINNATI (AP) – Gorilla fans in Cincinnati are awaiting word about the return of a 37-year-old male silverback gorilla.

Cincinnati Zoo officials said they wouldn’t provide an update until Ndume is safely back at the zoo, where he was born.

The Gorilla Foundation in California was under federal court order to transfer Ndume on Thursday for a flight to Ohio.

He was loaned in 1991 to be a companion for Koko, the gorilla famed for learning sign language. Cincinnati Zoo officials sought Ndume’s return after Koko died last June.

The Gorilla Foundation contended the transfer would harm Ndume. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco ruled in February that the gorilla should be returned , and recently wrote it was time to end delays.

The foundation says it’s sad Ndume is moving .