The most amazing thing about the close proximity of gorillas is that they behave completely naturally in the presence of humans, they communicate with each other, they eat. They completely ignore the prying eye of the nature lover and the cameras.
After the mixed feelings of gorilla watching in Bwindy, we went to see the gorillas at Muhabura Volcano in Mgahinga Gorilla NP.
I remember a silverback male started breaking a thick papaya trunk like a fist with the ease of tearing grass. The flesh of the succulent trunk is such a delicacy to them that it pays to move it to a more comfortable spot and then nibble the snapped trunk in seclusion without bothering other members of the troop.
As I was festooned with cameras, it was physically challenging for me to always be earlier at the spot the silverbacks were likely to go. Plus, at the risk of bumping into another gorilla in the pack. Looking at our guide, I felt he wouldn't mind if I moved away. After all, his benevolence in our photographic endeavors was exactly what David, Martin and I needed. I gave it a try, the gorilla trail through the forest was clearly visible, I wanted to "catch up" with the animals and not just take pictures of bare shiny black butts advancing through the forest in gorilla tracks. Just wait them out with a wide-eyed shotgun in hand in their path.
It says everywhere what is the minimum distance you can approach the gorillas, but I guess no one trains the gorillas how close they can get to us.
Knowing that "supposedly" silverbacks won't attack silverbacks in territory, I tried to take a blind shot with my grey head with my wide-eyed camera. There are currently three silverbacks in the Nyakagezi group of nine, backpacking up the slopes of Muhabura volcano, and they all passed me in one minute, really tightly!
I was sitting in their way, they didn't budge an inch... Impressive animal. I only knew how close they were from my friends photos, I was afraid to look the gorillas in the eye, I could just feel them. Maybe one of the males even touched me, I don't know, I had goosebumps all over my body.
When the gorillas are too close, it is recommended to kneel down for your own safety, bow your head humbly, muted humble grunts, and when the worst happens slowly tear the grass around you without interest, and when the situation is already bad from the close encounter, start eating the grass...
I rank my encounter with gorillas in Uganda as one of the most powerful experiences in the wild, along with my first time photographing a lynx. In both cases, the emotions were so strong that I started shaking and tears flowed...
Gorila horská (Gorilla beringei beringei) Mountain gorilla, Muhabura, Mgahinga Gorilla NP, Uganda
Ondřej Prosický | www.NaturePhoto.cz, Sony ILCE-1, Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS (SEL70200GM), 200.00 mm, f/2.8, @1/250 s, ISO 400, úterý 17. srpna 2021 9:40:50, 2021-8-6534.jpg