Gorillas Across Time and Space
DOI link for Gorillas Across Time and Space
Gorillas Across Time and Space book
I had to be patient for a bit longer, as we didn’t see Bwenge for the first hour we were with the gorillas. Sosthène was studying some of the females in the group, so we were following them. Gorilla groups can spread out to cover an area larger than a football field when they are feeding, and visibility is rarely more than about 20 meters in vegetation that is taller than they or we are. Finally though, as we followed a female to the middle of the group, we could see the large head of a silverback sticking out of the vegetation. Slowly, Bwenge walked towards us, stopping about 10 meters away to have a look around his group. Bwenge had grown to be a majestic silverback, looking very much like his father, Titus, around his eyes, and a bit like his mother, Ginseng, in the shape of his nose. Given how he moved through the group and his interactions with the other gorillas, it quickly became obvious that he had acquired the same calm leadership style as Titus had, and I felt confident that his dominance tenure would last well beyond the two years already past. Following a short period as a solitary male, he had attracted seven adult females to join his group and already had sired three infants. I couldn’t help but think how pleased I was that he had become a successful silverback, even though I certainly played no role in it. I reflected on all that had passed in his life and mine in the intervening years since I last saw him. Data collected from observations of Bwenge from birth to adulthood in his natural habitat contribute to our knowledge on gorillas in both a temporal and a spatial sense.