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Meeting the Mountain Gorillas

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Weekly Wilderness Webinar 4


These were some of the Life Insights gained from going on a vicarious, online wildlife safari into the Rhuenghira Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, with the Mountain Gorillas.


We watched the large silverback Guhonda, lying in a relaxed way in front of some baby gorillas swinging on a 'monkey rope'. When tourists invaded his comfort zone he broke a thin branch showing his distaste and moved his family to safety. The mother gorillas supported his leadership.

We noted his strong, but non-violent leadership, his intent was to protect and not attack. His 'wife' was a support, and they worked together as a team for the well-being of their youngsters. The silverback leader was aware and alert, constantly assessing the safety of the situation.


We watched a gorilla grooming another.

Some of the understandings gained was that gorillas like humans like tactile ways of connecting.

Grooming and touch serve many purposes, it increases physical well being, it can earn favors - you scratch my back, and I will scratch yours.


We saw an amazing interaction between a Gorilla family interact very closely with an older man, who had the wisdom to sit with humility in their presence. The silverback once again assessed the situation and sat behind the man with three young gorillas between them. The mother gorilla was also present. They were checking out this human being and even removed a small stick that had become caught in his hair.

Life insight - We learned many aspects of leadership from this great silverback:

+ His presence was enough. He did not need to proclaim his leadership, his actions showed who he was.

+ As he created a situation of safety those in his care cold explore and expand their knowledge. I told the story of the baby gorillas who somersaulted to where I was standing. They felt safe because their 'gorilla father' was around.

+ there was mutual respect between the gorilla family and the man, which made the situation safe. Animals instinctively know your intent.

Kip gave the example of a hive of bees he was working with, whenever anyone approached them with respect, they did not get stung; but when the uninitiated approached with disregard and poor bee protocol, they got stung.

I love this quote by Linda Hogan, in the book Intimate Nature:

'Animals…hold us to what is present, to who we are at the time. What is obvious to an animal is not the embellishment that fattens our emotional resumes, but what is bedrock or cement in us: aggression, fear, insecurity, happiness or opportunity. Because they have the ability to read our involuntary tics and scents, we are transparent to them, and thus exposed – we are finally ourselves.”

Please join us on Thursday at 12.30 (GMT +1) to learn some amazing take-away, life-changing insights as we vicariously LOVE the LIONS

To join in please email me on

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