TOKYO (AFP) – A giant gorilla with brooding good looks and rippling muscles is causing a stir at a Japanese zoo, with women flocking to check out the hunky pin-up.
Shabani, an 18-year-old silverback who tips the scales at around 180 kilograms (400 pounds), has become the star attraction at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, striking smouldering poses the movie model in
â€œZoolanderâ€ would be proud of.
â€œHe often rests his chin on his hands and looks intently at you,â€ zoo spokesman Takayuki Ishikawa told AFP on Friday. â€œHe is more buff than most gorillas and heâ€™s at his peak physically. Weâ€™ve seen a rise in the number of female visitors — women say heâ€™s very good-looking.â€
Shabani, who has been at the zoo since 2007, shot to fame after being made the campaign model for the zooâ€™s spring festival earlier this year, Ishikawa said, adding that the apeâ€™s paternal skills are also a big hit with women.
â€œHeâ€™s a father and he always protects and looks over his children,â€ he said. â€œZoo-goers think his kindness is attractive too.â€
Women have taken to social media to swoon about Shabaniâ€™s rugged looks, describing him as â€œikemenâ€ — or a hunk — and likening him to a male model.
A recent flurry of tweets has made Shabani a national celebrity, with Japanâ€™s broadcasters NHK and NTV featuring the gorilla on popular shows.
â€œHe will look you in the eye and sometimes if youâ€™re taking photos it will look like heâ€™s posing for you like a model,â€ said Ishikawa. â€œBut heâ€™s the head of a group of five gorillas so itâ€™s likely heâ€™s just watching out for them and keeping an eye on you.â€