First, some info about the family we saw. They have a total of 34 in that particular troop and we saw 28 of them! We found out later that we were quite lucky to come upon them just lounging around and grooming (and this may have been helped by us being the only 2 on the trek that day) We were also told that we were the first tourists to see a newborn that the rangers were seeing for the first time. We had to wear masks because we don’t want to risk passing any human diseases to the gorillas.
This next video that Steve shot of toddlers in a tree shows just how close we were -
In this next video, at first you’ll see the silverback grooming another gorilla (which was very surprising to Steve and me - we figured the “chief” didn’t do anything except eat, sleep, mate and ward off usurpers). Then you see the youngsters playing and acting just like human kids. Then the focus goes on a gorilla in the back, which was the new mother grooming her baby’s stomach and the baby hanging upside down over her arm (this part’s hard to tell - I’ll have some stills later).
Just above the silverback’s head is the newborn’s upside down face -
When I zoomed in, at first I thought it was nursing, but it looks like it’s sucking its thumb!
Momma holding the baby foot:
Time for another video - watch the youngsters at play; see just how massive the silverback is compared to the others (he can weigh more than 400 lbs, while females are often half that size); note the downed branches and leaves that we were standing on.
Interestingly, each gorilla’s nose is unique. Now for some more candid shots -
Looks like a hug to me (!) :
Next post is about our hike up Nyiragongo volcano. Until next time…