A gorilla who grew up in an Australian zoo has become a heartthrob among women in Japan.
Shabani the gorilla, who now lives in Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, has attracted a large following of admirers who visit him because he is so ‘handsome’.
The western lowland gorilla was raised at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo but moved to Japan in 2007.
Zoo officials said there had been a notable increase in young female visitors thanks to Shabani, Chunichi reported.
Shabani’s rise to fame has been fuelled largely by Twitter, where fans post pictures of him claiming he is ‘too handsome’.
His adoring Twitter following often refers to him as an ‘ikemen’, which means a ‘good-looking man’.
Taronga Zoo senior zookeeper Allan Schmidt said Shabani was moved to Australia from The Netherlands as a two-month-old in December 1996 with his family.
When asked if he was surprised by Shabani’s popularity he said: ‘No because the Japanese are crazy… The Japanese love their fads.’
He added: ‘I would say most people would consider him fairly dashing.’
Mr Schmidt said this is not the first time 18-year-old Shabani has enjoyed viral internet fame.
After moving to Nagoya, he was pictured in 2007 walking along a tightrope in the zoo enclosure.
‘He’s used to the limelight,’ Mr Schmidt told Daily Mail Australia.
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.
Mr Schmidt said Shabani was moved to Japan to mate with three female gorillas, where he has had two healthy male offspring.
Shabani has lived at the Japanese zoo since 2007, but has only recently become so popular, Rocket News 24 reported.
Pictures of the gorilla posted online capture him in moments where he appears to be flexing his muscles, taring broodingly into the distance or playing with the younger gorillas.
Comments posted online describe him as ‘hot’ and ‘too handsome’.
‘I went to Higashiyama Zoo. This hot Shabani ikemen was certainly handsome,’ one woman wrote.
Another posted photos with the caption: ‘Shabani who is in Higashiyama Zoo is famous as the too handsome gorilla!’
Meanwhile another visitor posted a picture at the zoo with friends with the caption: ‘The meeting of going to see the handsome gorilla Shabani… it was a fun holiday.’