Seattle, WA – In November 2011 a Zegrahm Expeditions’ traveler, John King, had an unusual encounter with a family of mountain gorillas while on the Uganda expedition. Zegrahm field director, Jonathan Rossouw witnessed the event and filmed this exceptional occurrence. The event took place at Gorilla Forest Camp inside the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A silverback gorilla was walking with his group along a camp path when one of the curious, young gorillas initiated a grooming session with John King.
Guests on previous visits to Bwindi have briefly been touched by young gorillas, but it is a very rare occurrence. Zegrahm tries to avoid human contact and reviews proper etiquette for gorilla interaction with travelers while at Bwindi, including the adoption of a submissive posture and minimizing any direct, full frontal eye contact, which may be interpreted by the gorillas as confrontational.
“Mr. King kept calm, lowered his head, didn’t turn around to face the gorillas, and as a result they continued to investigate this strange primate in their midst,” stated Jon Nicholson, President of Zegrahm Expeditions. “The fact that John was wearing a black sweatshirt and has his own ‘silver’ hair for grooming may also have encouraged this extremely unusual interaction.”
Since the encounter, Zegrahm, along with travelers John and Pam King’s Common Flat Project, have partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to direct any financial gain from the viral success of this video to help with the conservation and protection of mountain gorillas. In addition, Zegrahm will adopt a gorilla on behalf of each guest that participates in their 2013 Uganda expeditions and all proceeds will go to AWF. The 14-day expeditions depart July 6, 2013 and July 20, 2013.
Zegrahm always strives to make a difference in the regions they visit and supports a variety of non-profit organizations. For example, on their 2012 and 2013 Tracing the West Coast of Africa itineraries, they are working with Greatest Goal Ministries who is dedicated to helping Sierra Leone’s war-affected disabled and amputee community. And, travelers on their recent Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands’ expeditions raised over $100,000 to support the Friends of South Georgia rat eradication program. To learn more about Zegrahm Expeditions or to make a reservation, please visit www.zeco.com or call800-628-8747.
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