Even an hour in the presence of the Titus gorilla troop of the Volcano National Park, Rwanda was an unforgettable experience, a lifetime of memories, which are too good to share in only one post. So here’s another one!
The Titus group has two silverbacks, impressive creatures for sure, the lead male in particular was the strong, silent type. Without needing to impress and not caring for attention, he remained in the background throughout the all too brief encounter. His authority was clear, unquestioned, he had nothing to prove, secure in the knowledge he was the leader of the pack; if he was an actor, he’d be Clint Eastwood.
As for his lieutenant, the secondary silverback which appeared slightly older, the amiable gentleman of the troop and only slightly less impressive than the boss. More distinguished than authoritarian, the Sean Connery of the troop.
However, it was this little guy which seemed to grab our undivided attention and the focus of our cameras for the majority of the visit, was definitely Chris Rock. Unlike his father, the primary silverback, he seemed more than happy to perform, playing up throughout, pleased to be the centre of attention.
He bounced around the troop, from one member to the next, looking for an ally in his mischief. Most of the time his antics were met with indifference, even disdain, and occasionally he received a mild rebuke. He remained defiant, determined to cook up some trouble, subtle at times, patient at others, ambling between targets, feigning nonchalance, disguising his single-minded scheming with Machiavellian cunning, like a heat seeking missile he honed in on his unsuspecting victim.
It was his older sibling, a young blackback gorilla that turned out to be the object of his torment, knowing all the right buttons to push to get a rise from his brother. Climbing over him, rolling around and generally testing the patience of his long suffering sibling. Even if he initially wasn’t interested in joining the mischief, he was soon coerced into becoming our little friend’s sidekick, Abbott to his Costello.
Play fighting is a way of life for young gorillas, an important social interaction that forges bonds and as young adults mature establishes their station in the troop, setting the hierarchy and bringing stability to the troop …… until our little tyke decides peace and quiet is overrated!
For an hour we were entertained by the boisterous antics of the troops youngest member, watching him play up to his elders and betters before settling on tormenting his brother. The visit was possibly even more special than any of us had expected, memorable for so many reasons, and this playful little guy was the top reason.