Monday, June 17, 2013

Hands Off Motherhood Style

Olympia Gorilla is not too concerned when the boys start their roughhousing. Here she sits with her back to Apollo and Bomassa.  This is typical of her approach. She seems to assume they are going to know how to handle themselves, and is standoffish about it. In contrast, Bomassa's mother Jamani takes a keen interest in the interactions of the boys, watching them closely when they start to scuffle. She will let them go at each other for a good while, but she will always step in sooner or later and take hold of Bomassa and remove him from the equation, thereby stopping the action.
Infant gorilla Apollo raises his hand to half-brother Bomassa
At the moment, the boys are still staying put when they play with each other, sitting in one place and opening those big jaws of theirs and biting at each other. All these gorillas have little gashes here and there on their skin, it seems. Most of the time they are very gentle with each other, but every so often, a little something happens. And what do the zookeepers do about this? Nothing, really. Those skin abrasions need to heal on their own as would happen in nature. Were the keepers to apply bandages, the animals would just pick them apart anyway, so only in the case of a very serious injury would keepers bandage an injury to the skin.