Mountain Gorillas: A Typical Day

Mountain Gorillas are found only in a small region in central Africa. They’re an endangered species, peaceful by nature, and a close biological relative of human beings. In the next few minutes we’ll hear how a gorilla family spends its day. 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, headquartered in the Bronx Zoo.

“A typical day in the life of a Mountain Gorilla begins just after dawn, The Gorillas will move on from where they’ve made their night nests. There’ll be a little jockeying for position and each of the animals will be out there trying to basically stuff their guts. Gorillas eat massive amounts of vegetation per day, up to 60-70 pounds of food per day, for a large adult male. And so getting that food early in the morning is really important to each of those individuals. As the day goes on, the movement of the whole group slows down a bit. And eventually, some time in late morning, the whole group will settle down for a siesta. The younger animals will wrestle and play king on the mountain. And then there’ll be a lot of social interaction, grooming, one animal going through another one’s hair. Then as the siesta is ending, often its females who will get up first and start feeding again. And eventually, the big adult male will lumber up and follow one of the females and the whole family will get up and take off and they’ll have another intensive bout of feeding. Getting towards dusk, each animal over three years or so will build his or her own nest. And it basically looks like a huge bird’s nest. They take vegetation, bend it over and sit on it, turn, bend another one over and sit on it, turn, till they eventually have a nice spongy platform on which they can sleep through the night.

Additional funding for Pulse of the Planet has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Mountain Gorillas: A Typical Day

Eat, rest, eat, play-- a day in the life of a family of Mountain Gorillas.
Air Date:05/15/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

Mountain Gorillas are found only in a small region in central Africa. They're an endangered species, peaceful by nature, and a close biological relative of human beings. In the next few minutes we'll hear how a gorilla family spends its day. 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, headquartered in the Bronx Zoo.

"A typical day in the life of a Mountain Gorilla begins just after dawn, The Gorillas will move on from where they've made their night nests. There'll be a little jockeying for position and each of the animals will be out there trying to basically stuff their guts. Gorillas eat massive amounts of vegetation per day, up to 60-70 pounds of food per day, for a large adult male. And so getting that food early in the morning is really important to each of those individuals. As the day goes on, the movement of the whole group slows down a bit. And eventually, some time in late morning, the whole group will settle down for a siesta. The younger animals will wrestle and play king on the mountain. And then there'll be a lot of social interaction, grooming, one animal going through another one's hair. Then as the siesta is ending, often its females who will get up first and start feeding again. And eventually, the big adult male will lumber up and follow one of the females and the whole family will get up and take off and they'll have another intensive bout of feeding. Getting towards dusk, each animal over three years or so will build his or her own nest. And it basically looks like a huge bird's nest. They take vegetation, bend it over and sit on it, turn, bend another one over and sit on it, turn, till they eventually have a nice spongy platform on which they can sleep through the night.

Additional funding for Pulse of the Planet has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.