We like to picture our closest animal relatives as gentle giants, but like any other animal, gorillas can be threatening when approached the wrong way. Footage taken in 2015 of a charging silverback gives us a fascinating insight into the inner world of gorillas.
Kevin Cave and his family were out at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska. The family was watching the gorillas, and Cave was videotaping the enclosure, when one of the gorillas looked Cave straight in the eyes. Then, the gorilla charged at the glass, slamming itself against the reinforced barrier rest in front of Cave and his family.
When the visitors returned after running away, they noticed a long crack in the glass. Dan Cassidy, the zoo’s spokesperson, says that visitors weren’t in danger: the pane is made of three layers of glass and acrylic, and Kijoto (the gorilla in question) only cracked the first layer.
But the question remains: what prompted him to rush the glass?
The first possible reason is interpersonal dynamics in the gorilla group.
Cassidy explains that the three teenage male gorillas in the enclosure had been fighting over who was going to be the alpha male. When male gorillas get to be around 20 years old, they start producing more testosterone and becoming more aggressive
The three gorillas had just been in a fight, and Cassidy believes that Kijoto was trying to establish his dominance by pounding on the glass. He mentioned that the gorillas will often hit the glass to prove dominance because of the loud noise it makes.
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