Look in to the eyes of a gorilla - preferably a living, breathing one right in front of you - and you will surely come to the conclusion that you and the gorilla share at least some common ancestry.
And that, at least as far as I'm concerned, is a real reason to be cheerful. We should count ourselves lucky to share some genetic links with these noble, impressive animals.
I have looked gorillas in the eye, but before you run away with the idea I am some sort of David Attenborough or Dian Fossey, I should point out that my close encounter with gorillas was at Howletts, the wild animal park in the Kent countryside.
|A gorilla deep in thought.|
It might be that in an ideal world there would be no gorillas for me to meet in the wilds of Kent, they would all be in Africa living long and happy lives. But this is a far from ideal world and all types of gorilla are classified as Critically Endangered. At Howletts and its sister park at Port Lympne, also in Kent, there have been 130 gorilla births which presumably indicates that the animals feel "at home" enough to reproduce successfully.
As I said earlier, in an ideal world the gorillas would all be having a high old time in their natural habitat and in that sense this reason to be cheerful is also a reason to be sad because by far the biggest threat to gorillas is humans. There is a big trade in their meat and deforestation drastically reduces their habitat. In addition, they fall victim to the Ebola virus.
So, while I might look a gorilla in the eye and feel privileged to share some ancestry, he might look at me and wish that I and all my kind would just leave him alone.
Anyone who was reading my Blogging A to Z entries last year and who is blessed with a retentive memory might recall that I expressed admiration for The Kinks. Not much wonder, because they have written tons of good songs including Apeman, which seems an obvious, but dare I say brilliant, choice to go with this posting.
- Question: Have you ever been able to be close to a gorilla? Tell us more in the comments section, we want to know.
* Gorilla picture by Dozyg (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons