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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gorilla Aunties and their Mischief

I got to see a gorilla baby theft

in action at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. Mother Bana was lounging high up in the hammock with daughter Patty. Another gorilla stole up and grabbed little Patty, only six months old at the time. Off ran this interloping gorilla auntie, with Bana in hot pursuit, holding onto baby Patty with all her might. I do not know the Chicago gorillas well enough to know which aunt this was, but Bana chased her all the way down the tree, across the enclosure, and up a climbing structure. Mother Gorilla Bana confronted that auntie and took her baby back and all was well.  Gorilla enthusiasts will often use the term auntie to refer to a lady gorilla who has no baby of her own, even though that adult gorilla may not actually be a sister of the mother in question. Often these lady gorillas are very doting and sweet in their relations with the babies in the troop. But not always. Sometimes a gorilla lady who is a mother of her own child,  gets a little meddlesome!

Left to Right: Jamani, Bomassa, Olympia, Apollo
Recently, I photographed Olympia grabbing the arm of Jamani's son Bomassa. This happens all the time. Olympia keeps trying to part mother and son. Long time readers of this blog will recall some fifty posts back where Olympia took and kept Bomassa for nearly a week. He was very small then. But now he is bigger, stronger and a little more rambunctious. And he bites! One wonders what Olympia is thinking at this point as she continues to grab Bomassa away. These boys are getting too big to keep under wraps. What would Olympia do, were she able to grab Jamani's son away once again?

A big thank you to all our readers who took advantage of our Mother's Day special and ordered prints of Bomassa, Apollo and their troop. Watch this space for future discount codes.