Rwanda's Gorillas - 2017

Watching the Rangers and guides who are with these animals every day protecting and exhibiting them revealed that they have developed a primitive language of sounds to communicate with them. They purr, softly "grrr" at them, rumble a bit, and use hand signals to back up their sounds. The gorillas understand these efforts at "talking" and respond. Some sounds are reassuring to the gorillas, reminding them that we mean them no harm. Others are warning signals directing the animals not to come any closer to the observers. Some just communicate a pleasure in one another's company peacefully. As I said before, this experience, even combined with my observations of captive gorillas, solidify my belief that these creatures are sentient beings with a consciousness even though it is probably different from our own. The beauty of animals, especially the higher primates, is that they do not display the terrible behaviors of human beings which are so well documented in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center. (Well, I guess I have to modify that statement in light of the chimpanzee wars that Jane Goodall documented during her length studies of that species.) Here's one last note on how organized these folks are with the gorilla trekking and how determined they are that all visitors get their chance to observe them. We had noticed in our wanderings over the property of the Lodge a small, middle-aged Japanese lady who walked haltingly and with difficulty using a cane. After the first trek, we just could not imagine how this lady was going to negotiate those steep and treacherous trails. But we were assured that she had also done the first trek visiting a different family from ours and that she was planning to trek on the second opportunity as well! We were flabbergasted and really a little disbelieving until we saw her mode of travel on the second

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