The real Kings of the Jungle

I am currently reading a book about Dian Fossey called Woman in the Mists. I am not even a fourth of the way through it but reading it provoked some thoughts within me. Do people like Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Louis Leakey, and even a recent hero, Laurie Marker; do these people still exist? These people LIVED their research and their dreams, literally in the middle of Africa within nature to do their research. Just to clear things up Laurie Marker is still doing amazing work in Namibia for cheetahs. It takes a special human being to do those things, and ones that should be celebrated. I also realized that even though I had a short stint of time work with large primates at the Toledo Zoo, I really do not know that much about gorillas. So here we go:

–There are 2 main species of gorillas, and 4 subspecies. This difference is due to their coat length, jaw and teeth size

–The only scientific name for gorilla’s that I know is, Gorilla gorilla gorilla. That is actually a real thing, it is the scientific name for western lowland gorillas which are the ones you’ll see is most zoos

–Adult male gorillas can stand up to 5.5 feet tall and weigh in at 300-400 pounds; adult female gorillas can stand up to 5 feet tall and weigh in at around 200 pounds

–All species of gorilla are endangered

–Adult male gorillas will eat about 45 pounds of food per day

–Gorillas sleep in nests at night

–Gorillas and humans share about 98% of our genes

So why are gorilla’s endangered?

–They are hunted for their meat (not on my list of things to ever eat)

–Logging is causing habitat loss

–Civil wars in Rwanda and the Congo have taken efforts away from conservation and put into fighting

–Ebola put a dent in the species about 8 years ago

So here’s how I see it:

Gorillas are pretty freaking cool. I mean, if I could eat 45 pounds of food in one day, I totally would. These animals also went unnoticed by outsiders until the late 1860’s because they’re so elusive and just want to hang out in the forest by themselves. They also have extensive forms of communication and relationship building techniques. However, what I do not think is cool is why they’re endangered. It would freak me out to eat an animal that is 98% similar to my own species, its bordering on cannibalism in my view. It’s also proven scientific research that if two competitive groups begin cooperating towards one goal, that it can end the fighting (thanks for teaching my that Dr. Bushman). So if both sides of these civil wars wanted to cooperate on gorilla conservation, it could end a civil war, right? Wouldn’t that be amazing? And below is my favorite gorilla picture ever taken about this gorillas pondering something very interesting

(Kwisha, silverback, Toledo Zoo)

kwisha - Copy


2 Comments Add yours

  1. That’s a great thought and conservation should bring us together not tear us apart.

    1. brookewiland says:

      Thank you! If we can find one cause to unite us that benefits everyone just imagine what kind of impact we could have!

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