Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hanging out with Mother Gorilla

Here's a recent pic of Apollo Gorilla. He's still nursing, and on this day he was snuggling with his mom. Usually he is too busy running over to try to bother, tease, and bite on his big brother, but this day, he really just wanted to be with Olympia for a little while.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Seventeen Month Old Gorilla

Bomassa Gorilla was just about to turn seventeen months old when I visited a few weeks ago. I did not realize how incredibly big he had gotten, until I got home and took a good look at this photo where he is riding on his mother's back. Look at the size of his legs and hindquarters! He is developing some heft!  He was so much smaller just a short time ago. Of course in the early days, he was REALLY little compared to this. Take a look. Can you believe how much he has grown?

And here's a good look at his sweet face at the same age, just almost seventeen months old.  You can also catch a bit of a peek at his belly. See that bump there? He's got some extra fat on him!  Surprising, considering that he had only just attained a weight of twenty pounds.  For those keeping track at home, Bomassa's baby brother Apollo was twenty five  pounds at the same weigh session!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How to Carry Your Baby--Not!

Olympia is a good mom, 

but she seems a little clumsy when she puts little Apollo on her back. When I visited recently, Apollo was just about to turn sixteen months old, and was playing in his mom's lap. I don't see that happening a whole lot. Yes, he still nurses, but on this day, they were just enjoying each others' warmth, I believe, which is rare. It was sweet to see them cuddle for a bit. And then when Olympia was ready to move along, she tossed him up over her head so that she could walk away with him riding piggyback. He is adept at readjusting himself, and he righted himself in no time flat. But it's kind of funny to watch. Jamani, the mother of Apollo's big brother Bomassa, seems to be a little more graceful with this maneuver of placing the baby safely on the back. For that matter, so does Acacia, who has much less experience!

Not Olympia's finest moment

Apollo is really looking bigger these days

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, an International Destination!

I heard a few languages spoken at the zoo last week. One little French speaking boy saw this action underway and declared, Maman, le petit mange le petit!  Literally, this translates to the little one is eating the little one. And yes, it does look like Bomassa is getting ready to eat his baby brother Apollo. But no, they are just being boys, lol,  and are only playing. But it's gotta hurt when they bite. The size of Bomassa's canines is stunning, considering he is not even a year and a half old yet. And Apollo did have a little bit of a cut on his arm before this even happened. When they play, they do sometimes play rough enough to draw blood.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lovin' on Auntie Gorilla

Acacia Takes Bomassa for a Little Cuddling Session

and his mom Jamani did not mind a bit! They were all sitting on the log, chomping down on some browse, branches full of nutritious leaves.

Bomassa was in the middle, between his mother Jamani on the left, and his "Auntie" Acacia. With no actual genetic connection, these gorilla ladies are related only in that they are part of the same troop. But in any gorilla troop where there are babies and females (either older sisters, or fully grown unrelated aunties), there is likely to be some surrogate care-taking going on. The females might be practicing to be mothers themselves one day, or they might have children already. Either way, for some gorilla ladies,  those maternal instincts kick in and they step up to help out with the nurturing. We've been seeing for months now that Acacia is warm-hearted towards Bomassa. So it was no surprise when Acacia turned around, and took hold of the baby and skilfully hoisted him up to ride on her back. Mother Jamani  is perfectly comfortable with Acacia taking Bomassa away for a little while and did not even look up!  Mom just kept right on munching on those leaves, and did not turn her head to watch Acacia behind her,  as she hurried off with the baby, rushing away on all fours, circling towards the pond. The pond is empty of water now and earlier Acacia had placed a huge pile of straw in there just a little while earlier. It's a perfect place to curl up and take a nap, or to sit with a warm little bundle of gorilla baby charm. She sat down in the straw, placed the baby in her lap, adjusted her legs and they both got comfortable.

Bomassa sometimes closed his eyes and sometimes looked up at his auntie's face. He stayed and stayed, happy in Auntie's lap for a good twenty minutes or more. Several times she shook her lap playfully, bouncing Bomassa ever so gently, throwing her head back and looking at the sky. She seemed to be cherishing the experience. It's awfully nice to see Acacia getting the opportunity to build a relationship with Bomassa. She was once the dominant female in the troop, when it was just she and Jamani, but when Olympia moved in, Acacia was deposed. Now there is great antagonism between those two adults. I have never once seen Acacia approaching Olympia's baby, Apollo, nor have I seen Apollo go over to play with his Aunt. One wonders if Olympia has done something to discourage the two from getting to know each other. Thank goodness for Apollo's big brother Bomassa. And how nice for Acacia that Jamani is comfortable with sharing her precious little son!