I bet he isn’t the first Australian export to prove popular in Japan but Shabani, a western lowland gorilla, has become a major draw card for the folks at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
Shabani, shipped over to Nagoya in 2007, has caused a noticeable increase in young female visitors and gathered a legion of adoring fans on Twitter. He is referred to as ‘ikemem’ or ‘good-looking man’, although his popularity is something that zookeeper Allan Schmidt says is not altogether unexpected. He is quoted here in the Daily Mail:
“…the Japanese are crazy… The Japanese love their fads. I would say most people would consider him fairly dashing.
He’s used to the limelight…”
Mr Schmidt said Shabani was born in The Netherlands and moved to Australia as a baby, where he grew up with ‘a very stable father and mother’.
‘It’s not surprising he’s very successful,’ he said.
Good to know that a solid family base is also important in the primate world. Shabani seems to have taken to the limelight with aplomb, flexing his muscles and pensively staring off into the distance when the cameras start flashing. Some tributes from adoring Japanese fans below:
I went to Higashiyama Zoo. This hot Shabani ikemen was certainly handsome.
Shabani who is in Higashiyama Zoo is famous as the too handsome gorilla!
The meeting of going to see the handsome gorilla Shabani… it was a fun holiday.
Quite the ‘Blue Steel’ my man, here’s hoping he doesn’t suffer from the fear of turning left though.
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