Couple invite gorilla into family home

A French couple has gone ape over their adoptive daughter — an 80-kilogram gorilla named Digit. Zookeepers Pierre and Eliane Thivillon decided to parent Digit after her mother rejected her.

The 176-pound primate shares a bed with her zookeeping 'parents'

Pierre and Eliane Thivillon, owners of the zoo in Saint-Martin-la-Plaine, pose with a female gorilla named Digit at their bedroom window. (Robert Pratta/REUTERS)

A French couple has gone ape over their adoptive daughter — an 80-kilogram gorilla named Digit. Zookeepers Pierre and Eliane Thivillon, who live near Lyon, France,  decided to parent Digit after her mother rejected her.

Digit spends her days playing with other gorillas at Parc zoologique St Martin la Plaine — a zoological park owned and managed by the Thivillions — but goes home with her parents at night.

"It's going very well because we have a thirteen-year-old relationship with Digit," said Pierre Thivillion in an interview with Sky News, "obviously we have created a very strong bond with each other."

Digit seemed to agree, kissing Thivillion and putting her arm around him during the course of the interview.

So close is the parent-primate relationship that Digit shares a bed with the pair, who have foregone nights out in order to care for Digit. But there are also risks involved, the zoo's veterinarian Jean-Christophe Gerard explained to Sky News.

"It's an animal. It can have reactions. It can react violently to things it doesn't like," said Gerard. He added that the relationship they've established is "stable for the moment," noting that Digit has no history of aggression.