Monday, November 3, 2008


I attended a workshop at Zoo Atlanta last week and had time to take some photos of our closest relatives. I thought this was Ozoum, a Silverback Western Lowland Gorilla born in Africa around 1961. I wrote that the Zoo Atlanta Gorilla site says that Ozoum is a terrific father whose favorite foods are cabbage, collard greens and fruit. No wonder he looks so good for his age.

However, I have since been corrected by simdak (thank you!) This is not Ozoum but one of his sons Stadi. You can read about Stadi by clicking here on his Zoo Atlanta trading card. No wonder I thought Ozoum looked good for his age!

The Western Lowland Gorilla is the gorilla usually found in zoos. I spent many years opposed to the notion of zoos but now my emotions are tempered because, in many cases, zoos are becoming conservators of species who have lost their habitat to human encroachment — development, war, logging, and so forth. Still, it's disconcerting (to say the least) to see a wild creature, built to roam large, lush areas, confined for amusement and education.

Mountain Gorillas are far more rare which is why what's happening in Virunga right now is particularly alarming. In a world of humanitarian crises, why worry about 200 Mountain Gorillas, a forested World Heritage Site, the rangers (and their families) who have dedicated their lives to the protection of the Mountain Gorilla? Once the Mountain Gorilla is gone, it's gone. The Great Apes are our brethren. The remaining wild, green spaces on the planet are critical to the survival of any life on earth. If the habitat of the Mountain Gorilla is what's kept Virunga intact, and the dedicated rangers are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the forest and the survival of the Mountain Gorillas, the current situation in Virunga is of extreme value.

Here's a little video of some orphaned Mountain Gorilla babies playing with their caretakers on Sunday.

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1 comment:

simdak said...

that's not Ozoum...that's one of his sons Stadi