CINCINNATI (AP) — A male silverback gorilla is slated to return to the Ohio zoo where he was born, after a monthslong court battle.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco ruled recently that The Gorilla Foundation in California must transfer 37-year-old Ndume (nnn-DOO'-may) Thursday to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Cincinnati Zoo officials declined to discuss transfer plans until after Ndume is back.

Zoo officials sought to bring Ndume home after Koko, the gorilla famed for learning sign language, died last June and left Ndume by himself. He was loaned to the foundation in 1991 to be Koko's companion.

Zoo officials and animal rights groups disagreed with the foundation's argument that the transfer would harm Ndume. Seeborg said there should be no further delays.

The foundation issued a statement Wednesday.

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