Gorillas, Do Animals have feelings?by Kool Cat KC on 02/03/13
What kind of things make you happy? Or sad? Have you ever thought your pet had feelings? Two photographers, Anup Shah and Fiona Rogers followed a group of gorillas for about a month. They caught the gorillas behaving in ways that show that gorillas have feelings too.
Groups of gorillas are called troops, like Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops. The troop of gorillas that Anup and Fiona followed are western lowland gorillas. They live in the rain forests of the central part of Africa. They eat fruit, roots, twigs and tree bark and they have become “habituated,” or used to having humans around. It took more than two years for the troop to get used to humans observing them and photographing them, but by the time Anup and Fiona took their pictures, the gorillas were happy to ignore the humans and behaved as if the humans weren’t around.
What kinds of behaviors made Anup and Fiona believe that gorillas have feelings? One female, her name is Malui, had a still-born baby. The photographers saw Malui trying to revive the baby. She carried the dead baby around for two days and groomed it. They were able to take pictures of gorilla babies and young gorillas playing and having fun and the photographers even caught an adult gorilla who seemed to be enjoying herself in the middle of a swarm of butterflies.
My human, Terry, thinks that it’s great that humans can observe gorillas and photograph them. It helps humans learn about gorillas so that gorillas can be protected. So lowland gorillas will not become extinct. But it’s also not so good. For instance, she’s found out that male gorillas that are habituated, that allow humans to observe them, seem to have a harder time finding females to mate.
Terry found out her information about Fiona Rogers and Anup Shah and their photographs of western lowland gorillas in an article by Abigail Tucker in Smithsonian Magazine of November, 2012. You can find other information on western lowland gorillas at the World Wildlife Fund (www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=5880) and at National Geographic, (http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/lowland-gorilla/).
I think it’s kind of crazy that she went to all this trouble to read this stuff. All she had to do was ask me if cats have feelings.