Happy Monday my friends!
I woke up at daybreak today as usual, but something just didn't seem right. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, but what was wrong? Something just didn't seem right to me. I had felt this way for a while, day’s maybe. I grabbed a cup of coffee and went off to check email and news. I got looking at older emails and saw one from a friend, it was 5 years old, subject line; "Happy Monday!" The body of email itself simply said; "Happy Monday! Song included, PEace!" Spelled just that way, Steve likes to over pronounce the "E" in "PEace", as do I. Steve is a little bit of a tree huger, right out of the 60's. Me, I look the opposite. Steve knows we share a love for nature and all things beautiful. We both like Golf and Football too, we think allot alike at times.
I thought OK, let’s roll with this. I played the song included called "Leaving the riverside behind". It's a song about and dedicated to his Mom. See Steve grew up not far from the great Colorado River. So it's basically about growing up and moving away from Mom. We also both shared a bond and love with our mothers; maybe deeper than others because of life's twists and turns. We never had to tell each other that either, we both just knew! I will add, I lost my Mom this past year. I'm filled with all the loss and guilt associated with such a thing. When it comes to that feeling everyone either knows or will know what I mean. It's a pretty simple equation; there are those of us that have lived through it and those of us that will! Let’s just say that song and email are special to me. Whenever I see it, I play it, so that's what I did.
Of course after playing the song and getting all melancholy, (as I usually do when I hear it), I went trolling around the internet. First to my Moms pictures and then to Steve's page of course. Priorities, Steve understands. There wasn't very much activity on Steve's page. There was a recent photo of his dog, a classic pose I might add. Then there was a link to a video from January of this year. The video "Touched by a Gorilla" was actually taken by Jonathan Rossouw of John King on a Zegrahm Expedition. So I click the video and immediately see a connection to what is on my mind and what has been bothering me lately. The video is about an experience with a group of 19 Wild Mountain Gorilla's that have been habituated in Uganda (Probably group N). It's both a wonderful and powerful video, which shows what can happen when Gorillas are "Habituated". There are some negatives to habituation for sure too.
Why is this relevant? Because for the past few weeks both myself and another friend have been at odds over a few individuals who claim to have basically "Habituated the creature we all know as Bigfoot". It's not that we disagree, because we don't! We both think this claim is simply preposterous. None of these people seem to know what it involves to habituate primates, nor have they shown us any proof of that knowledge or of their success. Proof that one would naturally come by when habituating with any animal. You know proof like, photos, videos, or even intelligently written papers on what is involved and what it takes to habituate this creature. My friend likes to be a bit shall we say theatrical when he points this out. I like to spell it out with examples and links.
So let’s do that here. This of course will be dedicated to Mom and to Steve; Rock On Brother~~PEace! I will do it by explaining what it takes to habituate Gorillas in the Impenetrable forest with some examples and links of course. You know what some might call "Proof"!
Gorillas have been known to exist since 1847*. There was a time prior to 1847, when the gorilla was the 'yeti' of Central Africa. It was dismissed as a "silly native legend" until white men saw gorillas for themselves and had to accept that the great ape really did exist! The lowland gorilla was the first seen by white men. The mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei) was not 'discovered' until 1902**, by a German officer, named Captain Robert von Beringe; hence the name giving (Gorilla gorilla beringei). It is also this Mountain Gorilla that is thought to be the most near extinction. By most accounts there are no more than 800 thought to exist, many put the number more towards 600. Let’s just say that most cryptozoologists believe there are more Bigfoot/Sasquatch type creatures in existence then there are (Gorilla gorilla beringei) in the world. That's very sad, the gorillas pictured in this video are quite possibly a separate sub-species, there's adebate going on now on just that theory! The gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park have distinctive characteristics involving morphology, ecology and behavior, which some say differ from other species.
What we want to discuss is "Habituation" of these Ape's***(Apes are Old World anthropoid mammals, more specifically a clade of tailless catarrhine primates, belonging to the biological super family Hominoidea. Apes are native to Africa and South-east Asia.). Habituation of gorillas to human presence is generally an expensive, lengthy and difficult process. It takes years for a complete group to be habituated, and it happens in stages. The Males first followed by the females, but there are more stages then just that. There are stages with any type of animal & human interaction. Animals in captivity like Travis, (as I discuss in this link and may again here some other time) have stages to their habituation also. One of those stages when an animal is in captivity is; resentment. Some trainers have learned to avoid this when working with animals like Doc Antle,T.I.G.E.R.S, Rare Species Fund (RSF), also mentioned in theOliver the Chimp (1-6) story on the AZCRO link.
In Habituation the stages differ, but first you have to find the gorillas and learn to track them, this took the most time. It only happened because allot of knowledge was shared and passed on between researchers like Craig Stanford, of USC'sJane Goodall research center. Once you know where they are the Silver back will be the first to become Semi-Habituated (i.e. ignoring human presence during half of contacts). This alone can take up to a year, if you can stay with the group. Then the female presence will increase, followed by a period of male recidivism. Mitch and I have possible experienced some of this, but we still don't have any proof, only theory. These periods are measured in years not days and months, if you can stay with the group for that period. This is all followed by avoidance, aggression, and then curiosity which are the natural stages of gaining trust with any animal, even a human. Once you do this then you can compare and share results and data with others. Some of this data will naturally be in the form of pictures and video, like we have seen with these Gorillas.
No one is doing that in the cryptozoological world with the creature we all know as Bigfoot; a creature which even I have only seen twice. If you are, please show me the pictures and video. My friend is right in that a blobsquatch photo won't help and neither will false claims. Show us the data or please don't make such claims. The data answers the questions and confirms your beliefs. With out data your beliefs are just wild claims!
Don't let the truth get in the way of the news.
Video: Jonathan Rossouw's Gorilla Encounter in Uganda
Slideshow: Gorillas and those that study them.
Wild gorillas approach John J. King II in a video still.