COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The first gorilla twins born alive in captivity in the Western Hemisphere will be permanently separated next week when one is shipped to a Nebraska zoo.

Mosuba and Macombo II have not been separated since their birth on Oct. 26, 1983, according to Columbus Zoo officials. The pair are believed to be the only known surviving gorilla twins.

Mosuba, the firstborn, will be sent on Tuesday to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. His brother, Macombo II, will remain at the Columbus Zoo.

The twins are the offspring of Oscar and Bridgette, a breeding loan from the Omaha zoo.

When officials learned that Bridgette was expecting twins, the zoos agreed to treat the ownership as if they were separate births. Under the agreement, the Omaha zoo would own the firstborn and Columbus would take the second.

The zoos agreed the gorillas should remain together in their early years. They lived here until they were 4 years old and visited Omaha for several months each year.

While there has been some discussion that separating them could be traumatic, zoo keepers believe it is safe.

''They are fairly independent right now,'' and often play with other gorillas, said keeper Beth Armstrong. ''But they are obviously very good buddies. I think gorillas are really adaptable.''