1. Gentle giant
Jambo the silverback gorilla shocked the world in 1986, when a young boy fell into the gorilla closure at Durrell Zoo. While visitors looked on in horror, Jambo rushed up to the child. Incredibly, he gestured to the other approaching gorillas to stay back. He touched the boy gently and stood guard over him until keepers could enter the enclosure to rescue him.
2. Communicating with humans
Koko the gorilla was born at San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and has been taught to use American sign language to communicate with her long-term trainer, Francine Patterson. Koko is able to use over 1000 signs and allegedly understands over 2000 words of spoken English. Amazingly, Koko is one of the very few animals that keeps pets. After showing dislike for a stuffed animal toy, Koko selected a kitten from an abandoned litter and cared for him like a baby gorilla.
3. Battling poaching
Young gorillas have recently been seen destroying poacher’s traps in Rwandan forests. Two four year old mountain gorillas worked in unison to find and destroy snares left by poachers after one of their group was killed in one of these traps. Although the traps are often intended to catch antelopes, young gorillas can get caught and are not strong enough to free themselves, but the apes are fighting back to keep their families safe.
4. Remembering an old friend
Kwibi the gorilla grew up at Howletts Wild Animal Park in England under the watchful eye of zoo manager Damian Aspinall. At the age of five, Kwibi was released into the forests of Gabon, West Africa as part of a conservation programme. Five years later, Damian made the journey to Gabon and was reunited with his friend Kwibi, who greeted him fondly with a hug and played with him in his new jungle home.
5. Finding Miza
When Miza’s mother was killed by poachers, the baby mountain gorilla was unaccounted for, and park rangers presumed the worst. Amazingly, after several days, Miza’s father, a silverback names Kabirizi, emerged from the jungle with his tiny daughter in tow. She is now safely at home being raised by her older sister.
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