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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gorilla Training

No spoiling the children

When Bomassa is not hanging out right next to mom, or riding on her back, or sleeping on her chest, he might be romping around on the grass, or climbing a little tree, or teething on some celery. But sometimes, he is having a little training.
Bomassa sits at the knee of Jamani
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The gorillas need to learn to accept the various medical procedures which are required from time to time, such as the occasional shot or the application of a sonogram instrument. At this young age, Bomassa may not be getting much exposure to those particular specifics in his training sessions, but he's getting used to the process nonetheless. Jamani will take him over to the right spot when training time comes. She knows if she goes when the keepers call her, she is likely to get a few bites of kiwi, one of her favorite foods.


There's a grate between the gorillas and the trainer. When Bomassa arrives, he uses his opposable toes in conjunction with his long and strong arms, and quickly rises right up the grate. He's a terrific little climber already!  When he gets too high, Jamani will grab him back, but mostly she is very good about letting her baby learn how to do what gorillas do.  He will position himself carefully and grab on with various combinations of feet and hands. When the keeper holds out a piece of  kiwi, Bomassa will reach his left arm through a hole in the grate, and try to grab that piece. But the trainer won't give him one bite of kiwi until he pulls his arm back to the other side and waits a little more patiently. We can't be spoiling our baby gorillas!