Thursday, February 5, 2009


This amazing photograph was snapped by an amateur visiting the Port Lympne zoo near Folkestone, Kent, England. "I can't believe I got a shot like that. I was watching these two gorillas getting more and more aggressive with each other. And then suddenly they both just leapt at each other with mouths open - it looked really quite scary. I just happened to have my finger on the shutter button and pushed at just the right time. This is the only shot I have with them like this. I can't believe my luck. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. I have a degree in fine art, and really enjoy photography, so getting a picture like this was a big thrill," says Nicholas Godsell, who won runner-up in the annual photography contest held by the zoo. The lowland gorillas were rivaling over a mate, by the way, and don't often hurt each other in these shows of strength.

And remember Koko, the gorilla who knows sign language? She is now 38 and understands some 2,000 English words and 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language, according to her teacher Dr. Francine Patterson, president and research director of The Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California, where Koko lives. Here she is in a video demonstrating her talents with Mr. Rogers (1928-2003). The most endearing story I remember is that Koko had a pet kitten that she named "All Ball." But the strangest story is about Koko's nipple fetish! She uses the word nipple to refer to humans and has been known to grab the nipples of both genders without provocation. Dr. Patterson encouraged female employees to expose their breasts to the ape and thus exposed herself to several sexual harrassment lawsuits!

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