Monday, January 07, 2008
A Moment Of Gorilla Attacking Tourist Zen...
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.
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.