Skip to comments.Caught on camera, the terrifying moment a gorilla dragged a tourist off into the jungle
Posted on 01/05/2008 6:40:55 AM PST by Daffynition
He weighs more than 30 stone and is nearly 6ft tall. Built like a brick outhouse, he could probably crush your skull in his hand.
So the important thing to remember when you're invited into a silverback gorilla's backyard is just who's the boss. Oh, yes. And don't look him in the eye unless you want to start a fight.
Sighting: The group of tourists catch their first glimpse of the 30 stone male as they wade through the Rwanda undergrowth
Scarey: Suddenly, the silverback rears up and pounds his chest with his huge fists
Snarling: Next second, the tourists reel back in terror as the gorilla launches itself at them
Snatched: With astonishing strength, the male hauls away a man in a blue anorak
Safe: White-faced with shock, the hapless tourist finally makes it back to his companions
These were the golden rules that a hapless tourist might have forgotten when he encountered the biggest and strongest primate on Earth on its home territory in Rwanda.
One moment he was standing with a video camera as the magnificent creature quietly held court before a group of sightseeers. The next, he was being dragged backwards through the undergrowth to a terrifyingly uncertain fate.
Quite what provoked the normally placid silverback into stamping his authority so forcefully is uncertain.
He has long been the undisputed leader of a family of gorillas in the 39-strong Susa group that inhabits the Virunga mountain forests on the northern border of Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo, and is well used to dealing with troublemakers.
He is even quite chummy with humans, whose money and patronage helps support the planet's desperately dwindling gorilla population.
There are currently fewer than 650 individuals scattered across several hundred square miles of this region and, without help, they could vanish.
So it's clearly a jungle out there and sometimes homo sapiens can suffer the consequences for taking liberties with our most intelligent mammalian cousins.
The clue probably came when the male started to parade intimidatingly close to the group of tourists, led by local rangers beating his breast like a drum.
Suddenly, he charged at the crowd. Then he snatched a blue-anoraked man by one ankle and dragged him towards the trees.
Maybe the thrill of seeing gorillas in the wild had caused the tourist to forget the advice the rangers would have given before everyone set off on the trek no flashguns... no noise... don't point... look away if they make eye contact... and melt into the ground if they charge.
It worked a treat for Sir David Attenborough but whispering subservience patently wasn't adequate this time. One likely explanation is that the tourist an American got between the male gorilla and the true object of its attentions, a young female on the far side of the group.
Or perhaps the gorilla was simply being playful (not that it would have seemed like that to someone being kidnapped by a chest-thumping male like this one, of course).
"Playful" could have involved tossing the man against a tree, or cuffing him jovially around the face. Precisely what happened between man and beast in the few seconds the pair disappeared is difficult to establish.
Rangers stepped in to separate them by whacking the gorilla with sticks and waving bright clothing.
The tourist emerged unscathed, although somewhat shocked, according to onlookers. The gorilla went back to its lunch and never gave any clue to what happened.
Thus, the encounter remains one of the many fascinations these beautiful and awesomely powerful creatures hold for Man.
But at the very least, it may have provided the answer to that age-old schoolboy riddle: What does a 30-stone gorilla do when he's sitting on your lap?
Answer: Anything he jolly well likes.
It was Hillary... whe wanted the blue dress back...
Hmm, let’s see. Day after day, groups of gorillas tramp through my living room and I wouldn’t get upset after a while and bop one on the head with the remote?
It is not good to stand so close to a full grown silverback male gorilla. Look at the first picture and you will see that they provoked him by coming dangerously close to him.
What this incident reminds me of:
The gorilla: Radical Islam
The tourists: American Liberals
Their comment: “Nobody told us they could be dangerous!”
The results were both predictable and bloody.
They are called wild creatures for a reason. Calculated what you think is a "safe distance" and then double it. And even then you are still going to occasionally lose a tourist.
Why are people so shocked to find out that wild animals are...wild animals?
I’m sorry guys,...too much camera blur, ...let me reset the shutter speed and aperature settings,..and one more time from the top,...lets walk back over there and this time just a little closer so I can get everybody in the frame....
Always have very big gun handy when getting up close and personal with animals, especially big animals.
The sheer size, power, and beauty of these animals is simply amazing!
Sounds like a real "Here, hold muh catnip" moment!
Full Disclosure -- did a double take when I read your screen name. What happens when a tourist slaps you on the flank?
"Go ahead eat me. If you're going to eat me just do it." (Or something very close to that)
I still recall my 18 month old daughter rounding a corner in the ape house at the National Zoo in Washington and coming face to face with a "30 stone" gorilla behind a sheet of safety glass. I think the exhibit is designed for shock value, you round a corner and are confronted by a live gorilla. The effect on pre-toddler was pretty dramatic. (She didn't burst out crying, just pulled up abruptly and recoiled a bit. When Daddy and Mommy didn't show any alarm (after a second) she recovered fine. )
Sounds like an L.A. gang thug.