Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Portrait of the Gorilla as a Young Ape

(Okay, so it doesn’t scan perfectly. They can’t all be gems.)

I’ve already discussed my ambivalence about seeing great apes in captivity and using them as photographic subjects (see my earlier post on the topic)—not that this really stops me. It does make me feel a little bad, though, and a little intrusive, and I try not to take too many pictures of them—or, to be more accurate, I try to lower my camera regularly and give the apes the respect of watching them with my own eyes, seeing them as actual beings and not just as an opportunity for a good shot. Given these mixed emotions and background level of guilt, I most enjoy taking pictures of the baby gorilla, Kibibi (who’s about a year and nine months old), since she’s the only one of the apes who doesn’t seem to care about being photographed or observed. And also, of course, she’s really cute.

The young gorilla occupies her time in a number of different ways. She spends a lot of her time looking for food and eating.

She also spends a lot of time examining dry leaves and bits of grass (and sometimes eating those, too, or at least giving them a try).

But sometimes those activities pale, and she gets bored. She can deal with this in a couple of ways; one is sitting or lying around dejectedly:

And the other is taking action. She can roll around waving a leaf:

Or even run around waving a branch:

Usually, these acts seem to satisfy her, and she goes back to eating, playing, or lounging—or eating her feet—in what looks to me like a contented manner. And the best part is that while she, and I, are always under the watchful eyes of the adult gorillas, she seems happily oblivious of both their gaze and mine.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

1 comment:

Anca said...

The Dejection shot, don't you just want to throw her a volleyball to play with? And the last photo does make me wonder who needs most to be in captivity. Gorillas haven't destroyed the ozone layer or made bush meat of us yet.

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