Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 08/04/2012

Gorilla gorilla gorilla (so good they named it thrice)

Gorilla, originally uploaded by

It’s amazing how reliant we can become on technology. I know, I know, Dear Reader, I’m repeating myself – this time, it’s my mobile phone that’s playing up. As you may be aware, I’ve been a big fan (but not a fanbois) of the Android operating system ever since I got my HTC phone running the Google OS. It has performed perfectly for 18 months but with 6 months left to go before I can get a new phone, it has decided to start rebooting itself every 5 minutes. More importantly, it seems to have become selective as to what information it will receive – having missed numerous text messages from family and friends over the last week or so (apologies if I’ve not replied to one of your SMS messages, now you know why.. I’m not actually ignoring you). I’ve had a mobile phone for over 16 years and initially it was a useful tool to have at your disposal if you needed to contact someone or in fact be contacted yourself. Times have changed and I now use the phone as much for data services than I do to make or receive calls – and it’s this ability that I miss more than anything else. With every man and his dog off for the Easter Holidays, my calls to the cell phone carrier help desk have gone unanswered – so I’ll be a few more days without a reliable mobile device. Actually, that’s not quite true, I have a cupboard full of old mobile phones I’ve collected and collated since the early days, so perhaps I’ll just dig out one of those instead – I’ll just have to make sure no-one I know sees me using it.

I’m sitting engrossed watching a movie I must have seen at least a dozen times and despite the hokum science and facts strewn throughout the film, I still feel like a kid in a candy shop as I sit and watch dinosaurs brought to life in Jurassic Park. There are so many points to pick on in the film, such as the Unix operating system that the park is controlled by, the genetics (I studied this at University) but the biggest issue I have is with the Velociraptors which create so much excitement and tension in the latter parts of the film. These creatures, as far as we know, were intelligent and hunted in a coordinated manner – similar to the way Harris Hawks work together in fact – there’s not disputing the fact that they also had an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hind foot; the main issue is their size. In reality, instead of standing head and shoulders above a fully grown man, these creatures would only reach your knee so the worse that could happen would be some badly ravaged ankles. Still, this is Hollywood, and you’re allowed to embellish
the facts to add to the drama and excitement.

Komale, the youngest addition to the Lowland Gorillas at Bristol Zoo, was born in September last year and is showing the same sort of inquisitive nature that any 6 month old would show. Mother, Salome, is quite old in Gorilla terms when it comes to being a mother – in fact at 36 years old, she’s quite old in human terms as well! She had escaped the constant glare of the public in the main house, having secreted her young one and herself in a wooden shelter at one of end of Gorilla Island. Salome is well known amongst her keepers as being thoughtful and intelligent, which was quite apparent when it came to where in the shelter she had deposited herself. Rather than being in full sight from the public walkways, there was only one place where you could get a good view of the pair of them and that wasn’t somewhere obvious – it was in amongst the bushes lining the moat – with a small hole in the foliage I was able to observe and photograph mother and baby without causing them any distress. It’s amazing to think that little Komale could one day grow up to be like his father, Jock, 6ft tall and 30 stone – he’s going to have to get down the gym though if he wants to bulk up the same.

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