'Buff' silverback gorilla drawing crowds of women to Japanese zoo

Gorilla in Japan

A giant gorilla with "brooding" good looks and rippling muscles is causing quite the stir at a zoo in Japan.

Women are said to be flocking to check out the hunky pin-up.

Shabani, an 18-year-old silverback who weighs 180kg (28 stone), has become the star attraction at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, three hours by train outside Tokyo.

"He often rests his chin on his hands and looks intently at you," says zoo spokesman Takayuki Ishikawa.

Gorilla in Japan

"He's 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's been at the zoo since 2007, was made the campaign model for the zoo's spring festival earlier this year.

The ape's skills as a father are also said to be a big hit with women.

"He's a father and he always protects and looks over his children," says Ishikawa, "Zoo-goers think his kindness is attractive too."

Gorilla in Japan

Women have taken to social media to talk about about Shabani's rugged looks, describing him as "ikemen", or a hunk, and comparing him to a male model.

Shabani has become a national celebrity on Twitter with Japan's broadcasters NHK and NTV featuring the gorilla on its 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," says 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."

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya

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