I make a slight detour in this WGN Radio PETCAST, going from dogs to gorillas (may take a moment to load).
Those are mountain gorillas to be exact, Dr. Mike Cranfield veterinary director of the Gorilla Project University of California Davis Wildlife Health Center and Jed Chaddick, president of ECOTOURS.com beat their chests for gorillas - this is an insightful and fascinating conversation.
You can actually come face to face and nose to nose with the mountain gorillas - those are the same gorillas (or at least their ancestors) that Dian Fossey of Gorillas in the Midst studied and habituated.
I talk with these guys about a wide range of African wildlife topics, particularly in reference to the gorillas.
- If you take a tour to see the mountain gorillas, you may come within a few feet of them - no bars or glass between you and them. The danger is greatly to gorillas, not the people. That's because gorillas are so susceptible to human diseases, ranging from the common cold to measles - and either can cause death and spread to other gorillas.This is why a veterinary team is now on the mountains of Rwanda.
- How are the population numbers of the great apes doing? Here's a surprising update....Are gorillas continued to be hunted, even as a food source?
- We talk about benefits and risks of ecotourism? Perhaps, ecotourism (and dollars resulting from it) and veterinary care is an explanation for increasing mountain gorilla numbers. Sometimes wild gorillas are actually treated by veterinarians, mostly removing snares (which are generally set for other animals).
- You'll be surprised to learn....if you need a blood transfusion, and can't get blood from any other source - a gorilla might do.
- How tourists make 'connections' with these wild mountain gorillas. A myth is not to look at gorillas, in fact, just like people - they will look right back at you and communicate via eye contact.