A giant gorilla who strikes poses for photos and has been described as “very good-looking” is being credited for attracting more women to a Japanese zoo. Shabani, an 18-year-old silverback, has been compared to a “male model”, and has become the star attraction at Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya. The ape, who weighs in at 180kg (400lbs), has been variously described as having “brooding good looks”, “rippling muscles” and being “very attractive”.
Women are apparently so smitten by his looks that they have taken to social media to swoon and, according to the zoo, are flocking to his pen to take a peak. “He often rests his chin on his hands and looks intently at you,” zoo spokesman Takayuki Ishikawa told the AFP news agency. “He is more buff than most gorillas and he’s at his peak physically. We’ve seen a rise in the number of female visitors – women say he’s very good-looking.”
Shabani, who has been at the zoo since 2007, shot to fame after being made the campaign model for the zoo’s spring festival earlier this year. Mr Ishikawa says the ape’s paternal skills are also a big hit with women. “He’s a father and he always protects and looks over his children,” he said. “Zoo-goers think his kindness is attractive too.” Women have posted comments on social media, describing him as “ikemen” – or a hunk – and likening him to a male model.
A recent flurry of tweets has made Shabani a national celebrity, with Japan’s broadcasters NHK and NTV featuring the gorilla on popular shows. “He will look you in the eye and sometimes if you’re taking photos it will look like he’s posing for you like a model,” said Mr Ishikawa. “But he’s the head of a group of five gorillas so it’s likely he’s just watching out for them and keeping an eye on you.”