MOUNTAIN GORILLAS

We’re listening to the sounds of the Mountain gorilla, recorded in East Africa. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History. This year we’re celebrating ten years of broadcast and 2,000 programs.

George Schaller was one of the first western scientists to study gorillas in the wild. Today he describes what it’s like to observe these fellow primates at close range.

“When I began studying gorillas, one did so with a certain amount of trepidation, because even though you did not believe the evil reputation, this mythical beast that human mind has created of the gorilla, a four hundred pound animal, with the huge canine teeth, is potentially very dangerous.

“Very quickly I learned that they’re very amiable animals; that even if you do something stupid, like walking accidentally in the middle of a group, they may get annoyed, but they give you the benefit of the doubt. As soon as they become a little bit used to your presence, it is one of the most delightful experiences in the world to sit near these massive apes. And the feeling of kinship is especially great, because you look in their faces, you look in their eyes, and you’re with something that you feel you can have real empathy and understanding. And that they might even have some feeling and understanding for you.”

Please visit our website at .

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for the series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS

Dr. George Schaller describes his experiences as one of the first scientists to study gorillas in the wild.
Air Date:11/05/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're listening to the sounds of the Mountain gorilla, recorded in East Africa. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History. This year we're celebrating ten years of broadcast and 2,000 programs.

George Schaller was one of the first western scientists to study gorillas in the wild. Today he describes what it's like to observe these fellow primates at close range.

"When I began studying gorillas, one did so with a certain amount of trepidation, because even though you did not believe the evil reputation, this mythical beast that human mind has created of the gorilla, a four hundred pound animal, with the huge canine teeth, is potentially very dangerous.

"Very quickly I learned that they're very amiable animals; that even if you do something stupid, like walking accidentally in the middle of a group, they may get annoyed, but they give you the benefit of the doubt. As soon as they become a little bit used to your presence, it is one of the most delightful experiences in the world to sit near these massive apes. And the feeling of kinship is especially great, because you look in their faces, you look in their eyes, and you're with something that you feel you can have real empathy and understanding. And that they might even have some feeling and understanding for you."

Please visit our website at .

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for the series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.