July 15, 2015
For the second time this year, a captive gorilla has shown its apparent distaste for human beings who point cameras at them.
In April, a video surfaced of a family's harrowing encounter with a silverback gorilla at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. For reasons unknown, the gorilla snaps and charges at an enclosure in front of the family, cracking the glass but fortunately not breaking through.
Now, there's evidence it's not just gorillas in the United States who are getting sick of people. Photographer Bob Pritchard, 67, went on a routine visit to the Bristol Zoo last week and took out his camera to get some good shots of a gorilla, the Daily Mail reports.
Pritchard thought he might have seen the gorilla giving him the finger as he took the photos, but wasn't sure until he arrived home and looked through his batch from the day.
"When I saw the pictures, I just thought 'you little devil,' Pritchard said. "He really does look a bit cheesed off...Gorillas are really good at expressing their feelings. I was just really lucky to capture this."
It may not be what it seems, however. Gorilla researchers, from Diane Fossey to Dr. Penny Patterson, have long shared findings that suggest gorillas have their own intrinsic sign language that can be used as a basis for communications with humans. A bibliography from the The Gorilla Foundation supports such research, which begs the question of whether the middle finger is one of this particular gorilla's natural signs or if it's a learned behavior. Maybe Pritchard wasn't lucky. Maybe Pritchard's been going to the zoo and secretly giving this gorilla the finger all along when no one was looking so that he could get a picture of it being reciprocated.