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Tag Archives: Silverback Gorilla

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt a strong connection to animals. From the critters that roam my landscape to the wild animals I get to view when we visit Walt Disney World, all of them fascinate me.

“A Moment of Zen” (Silverback Gorillia, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 61.2mm, F/5, 1/50s, ISO 800, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Vignette Blur’ Filter

Whenever we travel to Disney, we simply have to visit the Animal Kingdom, skipping the ‘rides’ and heading straight for the nature trails.

One of our favorites is the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – a self-guided walking tour of native African wildlife.

Pangani means “place of enchantment,” and the imagineers certainly have done their best to transform this small slice of Florida into a lush, tropical forest and verdant valley that are right out of the heart of Africa.

On this last trip, I found the Lowland gorillas to be especially impressive.   Though they may look fierce, Gorillas are “gentle giants,” eating only vegetation and only becoming aggressive when threatened.

“Gentle Giant” (Silverback Lowland Gorilla, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 70.4mm, F/5, 1/30s, ISO 800

 

Other interesting facts:

– Gorillas neither make nor use tools.

– Water is taken from greens and fruit.

– They cannot swim.

Also, did you know that 98% of their DNA is identical to human DNA??

Here is the closest I may ever come to a 600+ pound adult Silverback male. The sheer size of him was indeed intimidating, yet I felt no fear. I sensed a playfulness and calm curiosity as he held this long gaze with me, and when I look at this portrait, I cannot help but wonder about all that is going on behind those amazing eyes.

Mesmerizing, isn’t it?

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There is no question that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite theme park. I could spend the entire day simply walking the trails and looking at all the animals. Does it bother me that these amazing creatures are at what some would define as a zoo? Yesssss, more than a little bit. I would much prefer all animals to be out in the wild, living out their lives doing what wild animals do. But, the world isn’t the perfect place we all wish it to be and the folks here at Disney are doing their part to protect and preserve animal species that, if not for their efforts, might be heading towards extinction. You have to give them much credit for that.

The animals have been kind to me this trip. Here are some of my favorites so far.

“White Rhino” (White Rhino, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/8, 1/1000s, ISO 640

We thought me missed these guys on the safari when suddenly, this rhino charged out of the bushes to our right, heading straight for the jeep! I don’t think anyone would argue that the rhinos always have the right of way.

“Meerkat Lookout” (Meerkat, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/6.3, 1/250s, -0.7EV, ISO 400

The meerkats are so entertaining! Nothing was going to get past this observant little one!

“Don’t Mess with Shorty” (Male Silverback Gorilla, Pangani Exploration Trail, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Nikon D300, 70mm, F/3.5, 1/400s, ISO 640

Moving further along the trail, we came upon a family of male silverback gorillas. As much as we were watching them, they certainly were observing our every move.

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