Mothers and Babies

IMG_0244The animal behaviour that struck me most profoundly in Uganda was how well the mothers cared for their young. I expect  that most of those mothers would have battled to their death to protect their babies. It was especially evident in the primates, but we observed it in the elephants too. When a family of them stepped onto the road right in front of our jeep we watched in amazement as the adults quickly shuffled their positions so that they were surrounding the baby, keeping it safe, and then they resumed their forward motion, in a pack. There was no verbal communication, not that we could hear anyway, but each of the adults knew exactly what they had to do. Continue reading

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Mountain Gorilla Trekking

imagesIn single file, eight tourists and two porters followed our guide through the dense Ugandan jungle. The going was tough and I relied on my porter to push and pull me up the steepest slopes. Thistles bit into my sweaty skin. The guide’s machete hacked away at the lush green vegetation.
The crackle of a walkie-talkie brought us to a halt. After a quick conversation with the trackers who were ahead of us, scouting out the direction in which the mountain gorillas had been moving since yesterday, our guide said, “We’re almost there. Take out your cameras and leave everything else here. Remember, seven meters, that’s as close as you may get to them.”
My heart was pounding, partly from exertion, but mostly from excitement. Were the gorillas really just ahead of us? Was my long-time dream of observing them in the wild actually coming true? Continue reading