Tag Archives: Zoo

Gorillas In The Midst


Though many will remember the astounding works of Diane Fossey through her published book, most of us learned about this world renowned primatologist from the above named movie starring Sigourney Weaver in which she received an Oscar nomination for her remarkable performance.

Diane Fossey was the first person to record the social structure of mountain gorillas, interact with them and developed strong personal bonds with each individually. It was her personal quest to protect these primates that made her well known throughout the world. In fact, one could say that if it wasn’t for her bold determination to protect her gorillas at all cost, they would be extinct today.

The picture above was taken at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Alberta was a 32 year old western gorilla who died recently. Her death had come as a surprise, yet the cause of her death is unknown. She is survived by her mate Winston and three offspring. One of them, Ndjole, a male, is on loan to a zoo in Oklahoma. (Loan a son out? Why didn’t I think of that?)

There are arguments that fly back and forth as to whether we are or are not related to these fine animals, yet as we gaze at Alberta’s face, can we deny the look of endearment and tenderness, the characteristics of a sweet sensitive unique being? If we look closely, we can see traces of happiness in her eyes and an expression of keen observation. Hers is a story of warm domesticity, a caring attachment between familial appendages. It is a story of community that evokes communication and caring between the species and how we can connect with others.

Like the gorilla, this may be no easy task as it involves courage on our part, an act of bravery to cultivate a relationship with one another, but well worth the risk. Then, when an element of trust is developed, it can give us a reason to live or a cause to fight and protect.

Hey, we may not be far off from these beautiful creatures, although one could only hope for a better hair stylist.

As our perception of community widens, especially through new acquaintances and friendships we develop socially on Facebook, Twitter and on our blogs, we feel resilient and gain a better sense of ourselves, for we all may be unique, but we are not secluded.

It saddens me a little to think of Alberta the gorilla and the family that she left behind. I’m quite sure she will be missed by all of those whom she came in contact with. But in turn, I must say we should feel encouraged to know that we are all surrounded by great people who want to see us succeed, people who want to be part of a thriving community, a collective gathering of growth and support. And as we bravely reach out, we just need to remember one simple fact: We can all be “Gorillas in the Mist”.


So please let me know what you think? Are you reaching out to other individuals, giving them support as they embark on a new path in their careers? Are you interactive in a community of friends via the web or in person?  What have you learned that will help others so that  they may not make the same mistakes you made along the way?

Thank you for your many thoughts and salutations. If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to follow!

Karen McFarland


A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new classmates in my #WANA1011 class and all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!

Click to "Follow Me" and receive new posts by email