When I do go to a zoo, I always insist on spending the most time with the gorillas. There is something about them that fascinates me (and countless others). Gorillas are the closest relative of humans, after the two chimpanzee species. Their DNA is highly close to humans, around 95%. Gorillas' natural habitat covers tropical and sub tropical forests in Africa and they are highly intelligent animals. Many know the story of Koko, who was taught a form of sign language and appeared on 60 Minutes. Like other great apes, gorillas can laugh, grieve, have a rich emotional life, develop family bonds and make and use tools. They can also think about the past and the future. Some researchers believe that gorillas have spiritual feelings or religious sentiments. It has been shown that gorillas have different cultures where they prepare the same food differently and they have color preferences. They are truly amazing animals!
Now, the bad news. Both species are endangered, they have been and continue to be poached. Habitat destruction and the bush meat trade are two big threats to this species living. The Ebola virus has also killed an estimated 5000 or more gorillas since 2004. The Silverback gorilla, (one of the ones shown here) is an adult male usually over 12 years old and make strong group leaders.
When I watched them the other day, I admit to feeling sad: that these magnificent animals are in this environment. It's no matter that they are living in a very large outside area, not caged, but rather with a moat around the area, it still saddens me. But maybe if people all over the world can see images taken by photographers, they will be educated about them. Then maybe the people of the world will fight this practice of poaching. Maybe then gorillas can live in peace in their natural environment. I hope so. Meanwhile, please view my attempt at showing them in a respectful manner.