Mammal Monday 33: gorillas (no sh*t!)

Ivo has three wives with him in the same enclosure. At 27 years old, Mpenzi is three years older than Ivo, whereas Bibi is 15, and Djambala only 11. There is also 55 year old Fatou, but she has her separate enclosure. I can’t really see her put up with a new silverback after the death of her last mate Gigi, who was nearly as old as she. However, Fatou’s life hasn’t been easy, with males coming and dying at a confusing rate. She had only one baby, Mpenzi, who is the first Berlin-born gorilla, and has a baby of her own now.

Here are some photos of Ivo’s young wives.

I really can’t help anthropomorphising them (Douglas Adams has some choice words on that topic, in Last Chance to See). “Twenty minutes, they said… it’s been TWO hours now! It’s 3:30 now and STILL no food on the table!

(she did scamper off to the door as soon as sounds were coming from the inside just before feeding time).

Lazing on a sunny afternoon……

Knuckle walking! Yay! (no, I will NOT derail this post into a discussion of the pronatability – or rather lack thereof – of the hands of Plateosaurus. Must resist that urge… MUST!!! RESIST!!!!)

Good place to keep a look-out – and believe me, if Ivo should climb up there with a piece of wood in his hand, I’ll be the first to leave! He can toss things to a surprising distance, and with surprising force, as zoo keepers learned in 2008, when he broke the bullet-proof glass. It cracked, but didn’t break, but I am sure Ivo would have NOT been very nice to yelling people if he had gotten out.

The coolest thing to watch is gorillas climbing! Their motions are so similar to ours, despite the differences in proportion and the gripping ability of their feet, and so much more powerful!

To cap this off, a final portrait photo of the pasha, and one of the Ape Kitchen.

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
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