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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gorilla Boy with No Fear

Apollo Gorilla jumps right in

He still is loving to go bother his brother, who still generally hangs out near mom. Here you see the back of the daring boy. He has just jumped on top of Bomassa who is snuggling with Jamani. The fearless younger brother Apollo got a little frisky, apparently, because Jamani is using both of her big feet to grab hold of Apollo's little foot. She did not succeed in keeping him at bay, and ended up standing up trying to fend Apollo off. She smacked at his face a few times, but desist he did not. So she grabbed Bomassa and ran off with him in search of some peaceful corner. It will be fascinating to watch how Jamani manages when Apollo is older, bigger, and stronger.




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Essence of Gorilla Beauty

Acacia has such a beautiful face. She is very friendly to the visitors and often comes close to check people out.  She is still on the outs with Olympia. She gingerly moved over to where a lot of straw was lying. Suddenly she grabbed a big pile, and ran off like a shot, so fast that I could not even capture the action. It almost seemed like she is nervous that Olympia would have something to say about this. But Olympia and the other gorillas were off nosing around in the weeds and probably did not even see Acacia making her grab for the straw.
Acacia Gorilla, born January 14, 1995

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Ring Reappears at the Zoo in Asheboro

The gorilla brothers are old enough to have some fun

these days and they are constantly playing at something or other.  You have read about the rings earlier. The keepers bring in the rings every so often. If the rings were around every day, they might get old, but instead they are a source of fascination. Here Bomassa investigates one pretty thoroughly.  He sits quietly exploring it with his mouth. Then of course, along comes little brother. Apollo has decided he shall have the ring, so he reaches for it and grabs hold. Then he hoists it up over his shoulders and off he goes.
Bomassa mouths the ring




Apollo takes the ring



Apollo runs off with the toy, Bomassa grabbing towards it with his feet




Friday, September 19, 2014

Visiting Great Grandmother Colo Gorilla

Your friendly blogger has been on the road  

visiting Bomassa and Apollo's relatives. That's why it's been so lonnnnnnnnng since your last update. She's now happy to share a few pics of these fascinating characters. Here is their great grandmother, Colo Gorilla, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. Find her in Bomassa's family tree.  Queen Bee, Granny Pants, Sweetie Face, Colo has earned many names because she is so well loved. She is so famous world over, that she has her own Wikipedia article, excerpted below.


Colo (born December 22, 1956) is a Western Gorilla widely known as the first gorilla to be born in captivity anywhere in the world and as the oldest gorilla in captivity in the world. Colo was born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to Millie Christina (mother) and Baron Macombo (father). She was briefly called Cuddles before a contest was held to officially name her. Colo's name is derived from the place of her birth, Columbus, Ohio.
Watch the video about Colo's birth. If you watch carefully, you may catch a glimpse of the new silverback who will soon join the troop in North Carolina. He, too was born at the Columbus Zoo. More on that in the days to come.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Baby Gorilla Turns Two Years Old

Happy Birthday Apollo Gorilla!

Baby gorillas look so safe and secure and warm in the arms of mother. Here's a very young (and sweet!) Apollo, as seen November 16, 2012 when he was just eleven weeks old.  He has changed so much in just two years, originally able to do little more than hang onto mom, and take care of some other essentials. Now, he is climbing up walls, swinging from branches, and chasing his big brother all over the place.

Apollo Gorilla, Born August 31, 2012

Monday, August 25, 2014

Apollo Gorilla Takes a Turn

The Puzzle of the Ring 

was too much for the boy gorillas. As we saw a few days back, the keepers had placed a ring on end of the log, way up in the air, and Bomassa tried his special method of getting the prize. Apollo wanted that ring too! So he had to take a shot and used a very different approach!  While Bomassa is the brains, Apollo is the brawn. Recall that Bomassa had carefully climbed up that log, trying to get very close to the ring, and attempting to pull it back to himself, which was not at all effective in moving that ring off the log. Apollo, being the more active, and the more willing to stretch his physical abilities, decided to jump for it!

Apollo sizes up his target and gets ready  to pounce

Spring! 

And  Apollo makes contact with the big black ring

A spring and a miss
No. Not happening. That ring did not come down. Apollo had thought it through very carefully, had positioned himself well, and jumped as high as his little body possibly could. He touched it! But in the end, he did not manage to budge that ring off the end of the branch. And believe me, he tried!  Again and again, Apollo went after his target, but when I finally had to go home, that ring was still on the end of the log.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Intelligence of Gorillas

Gorillas know their colors

and they can learn sign language. They can even learn to understand the names for their various body parts. But put an enticing toy ring on a tree, and you just might find gorillas completely puzzled, at least when they're only about two years old. The wondrous reality is that you can observe the gorillas using their intelligence to try to devise a way to get a toy that looks attractive. Such was the case recently when I visited Apollo and Bomassa at the North Carolina Zoo. Each day, the keepers bring in some items for enrichment, so that the animals have something new to think about, something new to touch, to carry, to play with, to fascinate them. On this day they had brought in large black plastic rings, scattering some here and there on the ground.  I would not be surprised if the keepers had tucked some food into the sides of those rings. It's entertaining for the gorillas to manipulate an object, but even moreso, if there is some food to be had in the process. But not all of the rings were within reach. The keepers had placed one ring at the end of a log, those crafty devils! And the baby boys were fascinated!  They tried and tried to get at that ring, and to knock it down.

First, Bomassa looked up at that ring for the longest time, as you see in the top photo. And then Bomassa skillfully climbed up that log, going almost out to the end, but stopping short. I thought he was going to reach his hand out and flick that toy off the tree, letting it fall below. But instead he grabbed the ring and manhandled it, trying to pull it towards himself. That did not help at all with the mission! So Bomassa climbed back down, and then Apollo copied his big brother and did exactly the same thing. And he got the same result, leaving the ring exactly where the keepers had placed it.

As you can see in the last photo, Bomassa is standing right under the ring. I wonder if this is coincidence, or if Bomassa has figured out that if that rings falls when he is there, he is going to be the one to get it, even though Apollo did the work. Anyway, the boys gave up and attended to other boy gorilla matters, such as finding some food in the brush, and checking in with their mamas now and then. But the allure proved too much, so later they tried again for the ring, using an entirely new method. All will be revealed in next week's post. If you are signed up for email, you will be the first to know! Look for the Follow By Email box over in the right hand column.

Bomassa looks wistfully at the ring on the end of the branch


Bomassa and Apollo took turns

Apollo gets close as Bomassa observes from below