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Photographer's Note

Due to a dense canopy of leaves (and not being allowed to use flash photography), this is the only photo of a Silver-Back that survived my treck through Bwindi Impenetrable Park.

Walking 9 kms through dense jungle proved to be worth the effort. When I first sat with the gorillas, I thought it was an interesting experience but nothing extraordinary, until I made eye-contact with Christmas, this 2 year old gorilla. I can't even begin to describe the connection. Their eyes are HUMAN.

It saddens me that these animals were once poached because gorilla-hand ashtrays were in style. Thankfully, they are now protected,and tourist visits to the group are limited.

DNA tests show that gorillas share 98% of human genes. They are closer to us than chimpanzees.

With an IQ varying between 85 and 95, gorillas can communicate with us. The proof? This dialogue between Koko, a female gorilla, and American scientist Francine Patterson, who taught the gorilla sign language:

F.P.: "When do gorillas die?"
K.: "Illness, old."
F.P.: "Where do gorillas go when they die?"
K.: "Comfortable hole...goodbye."
F.P.: "What do they feel?"
K.: "Sleep."

I was initially disapointed that this pic was blurry, but now I like it. To me, it depicts the mystical nature of our gorilla cousins.

fireflyz, markbrunner has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Shannon Hayes (shayes) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 81 W: 4 N: 146] (499)
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