Mountain Gorillas: Rainy Season

Late May is the height of the rainy season in the highlands of Rwanda, Zaire and Uganda. And the Mountain Gorillas who inhabit this region get to feast on one of their favorite foods. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Amy Vedder is director of Africa programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“The heart of the rainy season is from March through May into early June. And at this time Mountain Gorillas are underneath a tremendous amount of rain. And at the beginning of the rainy season, you get clouds dancing around the mountains that they’re living in. Within the next few weeks, the clouds become massive and collide with the mountains, so you get pouring rain. Usually, that only lasts for a few hours and the gorillas will hunker down and hunch over and let the rain roll off their fur on their backs. After a few hours of torrential rain, even if it continues raining they’ll get up, if they’re hungry enough they’ll move and feed. And if that happens, they actually get quite chilly and you can see them shivering some. They are up at a high enough altitude that the cold really does set in in the midst of a rainy season.

“As the rainy season is dwindling down, towards June or so, you get bamboo shoots that come up and bamboo shoots are a prized food item. And gorillas will run when they see one, they’ll compete over them and they’ll argue, they’ll fight; they’ll play tug-o-war with bamboo shoots. And I never saw competition over food to the extent that you see with bamboo shoots, so that’s a very important seasonal food item for them.”

For transcripts of this and other programs in our series, please visit our website at www.pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Mountain Gorillas: Rainy Season

Rainy season marks the arrival of one of the Mountain Gorilla’s favorite foods.
Air Date:05/13/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

Late May is the height of the rainy season in the highlands of Rwanda, Zaire and Uganda. And the Mountain Gorillas who inhabit this region get to feast on one of their favorite foods. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Amy Vedder is director of Africa programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"The heart of the rainy season is from March through May into early June. And at this time Mountain Gorillas are underneath a tremendous amount of rain. And at the beginning of the rainy season, you get clouds dancing around the mountains that they're living in. Within the next few weeks, the clouds become massive and collide with the mountains, so you get pouring rain. Usually, that only lasts for a few hours and the gorillas will hunker down and hunch over and let the rain roll off their fur on their backs. After a few hours of torrential rain, even if it continues raining they'll get up, if they're hungry enough they'll move and feed. And if that happens, they actually get quite chilly and you can see them shivering some. They are up at a high enough altitude that the cold really does set in in the midst of a rainy season.

"As the rainy season is dwindling down, towards June or so, you get bamboo shoots that come up and bamboo shoots are a prized food item. And gorillas will run when they see one, they'll compete over them and they'll argue, they'll fight; they'll play tug-o-war with bamboo shoots. And I never saw competition over food to the extent that you see with bamboo shoots, so that's a very important seasonal food item for them."

For transcripts of this and other programs in our series, please visit our website at www.pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.