More gorillas exist than previously thought
August 5, 2008 8:03 AM   Subscribe


 
It's terrible to wish the poor things hadn't been found. Now they'll be hunted, exploited, or used for blackmail.
posted by orthogonality at 8:09 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gorillas That We Missed.

(I AM NOT SORRY)
posted by Jofus at 8:20 AM on August 5, 2008 [10 favorites]


Orthogonality: Thanks for the "Another Chance to See" link; I loved that book when it came out, and never knew Stephen Fry was getting involved. The gangland execution of the mama gorilla, on the other hand, depressed me immeasurably.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:24 AM on August 5, 2008


Grodd is going to be pissed.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:25 AM on August 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


Wow. An undiscovered colony of 125,000 termites, yes. I can see how that could happen. 125,000 gorillas?
posted by Dumsnill at 8:29 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wait... do these gorillas use stone paddles to kill people? Because if they do, we're gonna have to seriously reconsider this global warming thing.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:32 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


125,000 lowland gorillas have been discovered

"Lisa, a guy who's got lots of ivorygorillas is less likely to hurt Stampygorillas than a guy whose ivorygorilla supplies are low."

Oh, gorillas.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:38 AM on August 5, 2008


Wow. An undiscovered colony of 125,000 termites, yes. I can see how that could happen. 125,000 gorillas?

I'm seeing a corpulent, sweating explorer in the grand tradition - head to toe in khakis with a pith helmet - pushing through the dense, soaking jungle. Suddenly the thick undergrowth evaporates and he tumbles noisily into a large clearing. 125,000 heads turn simultaneously his way. There is a long beat. A single bead of perspiration runs down his temple; Somewhere in the distance a parrot takes flight. Then the theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm starts playing as we blackout
posted by Jofus at 8:43 AM on August 5, 2008 [25 favorites]


"Enjoy them while they last."

*licking fingers*

Thanks, I did.
posted by Eideteker at 8:48 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


I saw this yesterday and was simultaneously overjoyed at the discovery and apprehensive that now Everyone Knows.
posted by rtha at 8:56 AM on August 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


*stands on top of chair*

*clears throat*

Could I have everyone's attention? Thanks. Ok there has been a bit of a misunderstanding, there are no new gorillas. Yeah, I know, sorry about that, it seems like someone just updated the wikipedia page and confused everyone. I know you were all really excited about hunting them, but unfortunately they don't actually exist.

Now, on an unrelated note, there is a big section of swamps in the Congo that are going to be closed for construction for the foreseeable future, I'm really sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm afraid the area is completely off limits.

So, thanks for coming, there are donuts and coffee by the exit. Have a safe trip home.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Have a gorilla."

"No thanks, I'm trying to give them up."
posted by Bromius at 9:14 AM on August 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


Why can't the NYT get the DRC's name right?
posted by clockzero at 9:17 AM on August 5, 2008


I chop 'em up and put 'em in my cereal. I call it "Granilla."
posted by Mister_A at 9:17 AM on August 5, 2008


I think I speak for most of humanity when I ask: "What do they taste like?"
posted by blue_beetle at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2008


While in one sense this is great news—since we previously thought there was only ~750 lowland gorillas left in the world—it's not so great considering that this new-found population lives in one of the most unfortunate places imaginable. This 2-square mile patch is the heart of a 3-way war, a charcoal mafia, and the greed of poachers.

National Geographic recently did an excellent continuing story and video:
Who Murdered the Virunga Gorillas?
Photographer Brent Stirton and writer Mark Jenkins unravel the mystery at the root of the Virunga gorilla massacre.

Here is the article that follows.
"There was no shortage of suspects. The gorillas share the park with tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers engaged in a three-way guerrilla war between two rival militias and the Congolese army. The park is also home to poachers and hordes of illegal charcoal producers, and it is bordered by subsistence farmers and vast refugee camps overflowing with families fleeing the bloodshed. Caught in this vortex of human misery, it would be a miracle if the animals remained unscathed. But who would kill gorillas in cold blood, and why?"

The Imperiled Mountain Gorilla, Another great article from the April 1981 issue of National Geographic, by Dian Fossey.

What just saddens me the most about all of this is that most people have no clue about how smart and sensitive these human-like creatures are. For example, I was amazed to learn that the late Michael, a gorilla who lived at The Gorilla Foundation, could recount the memory of the slaughter of his mother at the hands of poachers. He told his story through his knowledge of sign-language, which is shown in the video just linked.

You can watch several videos of Koko, Michael, and Ndume over at KokoFlix. From Koko's 37th birthday video (July 4, 2008), where she enjoyed a special birthday lunch, prepared by the staff, but designed by Koko herself (she dictated the menu). To her forays into video dating (so that she could select a mate–she really wants to have a baby). She also has self-awareness, which is pretty cool.

Anyways, I just thought I'd add some stuff here, because the NYT article, as usual, was pretty light and fluffy. And there's a lot more to the story.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:45 AM on August 5, 2008 [17 favorites]


This is just proof that endangered species laws are completely unnecessary.

Wait, what?
posted by inigo2 at 9:55 AM on August 5, 2008


The gorillas share the park with tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers engaged in a three-way guerrilla war between two rival militias and the Congolese army.

Further proof that gorillas and guerrillas don't mix.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:03 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I told you there were plenty more while you were all freaking out. And look, I was right, there're plenty more. Now would all of you please excuse me while I shoot this gorilla?
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:06 AM on August 5, 2008


Thanks for the plethora of links, iamkin.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:15 AM on August 5, 2008


Sorry: iamkim.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:15 AM on August 5, 2008


I can see how that could happen. 125,000 gorillas?

Who knows. There was a study 17 years ago and they didnt find these gorillas. I wonder if there will be a correction in a couple of years that brings down this number.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


So that explains it.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:28 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. Why is it funny to make jokes about shooting gorillas? Slaughtering them? Eating them? If this post was about dogs, or polar bears, or dolphins...then what? Those of you making the (un)funnies come off sounding like a bunch of ignorant, insensitive a-holes.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:40 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


If I was the kind of person that would traverse to the Congo and make such a discovery, I might hide this information, and perhaps expend much energy protecting the gorillas and this secret.

But I'm not that kind of person.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:45 AM on August 5, 2008


Eating them? If this post was about dogs, or polar bears, or dolphins...then what?

I think you'd see similar results. I prefer to think of people's jokes as gallows humor; when I watched your link about the gorilla who could recall his mother being killed by poachers, I started choking up pretty badly (and in the middle of a coffeeshop, no less). I'm not crazy about the "delicious gorillas" jokes myself, which is why I made jokes about banana shortages and crappy Michael Crichton novels. But the reason is the same, I think: If you don't find some way to laugh at it, you'll bawl your eyes out. And I've made some pretty inappropriate jokes in the past myself, so I'm not about to judge.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:51 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm with you hifi, and I've been guilty of tasteless (ha!) humor too. I just have a hard time believing that certain Mefites in this thread are joking as coping strategies to prevent crying.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:01 AM on August 5, 2008


Some of us just really hate gorillas.
posted by empath at 11:07 AM on August 5, 2008


Don't knock it if you haven't tried it, iamkimiam. Damn good eatin' on a gorilla.

...oh, I'm sorry. I thought you said guerilla. Damn good eatin' on a guerilla.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:12 AM on August 5, 2008


I just have a hard time believing that certain Mefites in this thread are joking as coping strategies to prevent crying.

Yeah, but I'd guess that even if they're making the jokes just to be crass, it doesn't mean they don't care. Sometimes a dumb joke is just something you make.

And why hasn't anyone favorited my hilariously esoteric jokes about banana shortages and crappy Michael Crichton novels?
posted by hifiparasol at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2008


Jofus writes "Then the theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm starts playing as we blackout"

Isn't that "Three little maids from school"?
posted by orthogonality at 11:19 AM on August 5, 2008


Why is it funny to make jokes about shooting gorillas? Slaughtering them? Eating them?

A gorilla raped my ma.

No, wait... it was an orangutan. Goddam orangutans.
posted by dgaicun at 11:26 AM on August 5, 2008


I just have a hard time believing that certain Mefites in this thread are joking as coping strategies to prevent crying.

You're right--when I read about the gang execution of a gorilla, I need gallows humor not to prevent myself from weeping, but to divert myself from impulsive suicide.
posted by everichon at 11:32 AM on August 5, 2008


I can't stand Julia Roberts, but I feel kind of bad for laughing out loud when I read that she was almost sexually assaulted by an orangutan. I wonder if the orangutan was hired by Vera Moder?
posted by Daddy-O at 11:44 AM on August 5, 2008


Obviously the gorillas had watched this video.
posted by Knappster at 11:54 AM on August 5, 2008


Oh, look. I found one right here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/electrasteph/2735658973/
posted by electrasteph at 12:28 PM on August 5, 2008


Oh. The eatgorillas comments are gallows humor.

[pauses]

So. When do they become funny?

Does it help if I imagine myself as incapable of being "part of the solution", and subsequently self-identify as being "part of the problem"?

Because this news is good news to me, and while I bad news is around to be had, this news has increased my happitude by several degrees.

In fact, I am dancing around like a human! More apes! Yeaah!
posted by humannaire at 1:02 PM on August 5, 2008


125,000 gorillas?

Well, to be fair, the researchers were trying to keep track of the basketball.
posted by Durhey at 1:28 PM on August 5, 2008 [12 favorites]


Durhey: "38125,000 gorillas?

Well, to be fair, the researchers were trying to keep track of the basketball.
"

Now THAT is funny!
posted by iamkimiam at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2008


Ugh, why does the greasemonkey (heh) script DO that!?!?! 125,000, not 38125,000!
posted by iamkimiam at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2008


Just in time to provide a million partying Chinese with their aphrodisiacs.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:59 PM on August 5, 2008


Because this news is good news to me, and while I bad news is around to be had, this news has increased my happitude by several degrees.

In fact, I am dancing around like a human! More apes! Yeaah!


I hear you. But I for one care less about the numbers than what happens to these particular individuals, in the same way that I don't take a casual attitude toward human life because there's plenty to go around. And the lot of these particular gorillas just got a lot worse.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:54 PM on August 5, 2008


I've long been curious as to whether gorillas could be trained to give piggy-back rides.
posted by Tube at 3:59 PM on August 5, 2008


Why is it funny to make jokes about shooting gorillas? Slaughtering them? Eating them?

I agree completely.

The only jokes you should make after "Enjoy them while they last" are jokes about having sexual intercourse with gorillas, noting that your unusually large genitalia and uncommon sexual prowess render any subsequent partners they might have supremely unsatisfying.

Amy. Amy good gorilla. Good, good. Make nice-nice.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:20 PM on August 5, 2008


I've long been curious as to whether gorillas could be trained to give piggy-back rides.

I'm more curious about whether a gorilla could be trained to use a knife and fight a fully-grown grizzly bear.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:21 PM on August 5, 2008


Welcome to Ecotourism. The only way to save the gorillas is to make them worth more alive than dead.
posted by TomMelee at 5:28 PM on August 5, 2008


MMMM.... gorilla steak, gorilla bacon....looking forward to this.
posted by nyxxxx at 5:52 PM on August 5, 2008


What they need to do now is train the 125,000 gorillas to handle automatic weapons and then turn them loose on the poachers.
posted by bwg at 6:02 PM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


If there's room for 125,000 gorillas ... maybe there's room for a Mokele-mbembe?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:30 PM on August 5, 2008


bwg, something tells me that a squad of 125,000 heavily armed gorillas trained to kill would be just a bit of a bigger problem.
posted by tehloki at 10:23 PM on August 5, 2008


something tells me that a squad of 125,000 heavily armed gorillas trained to kill would be just a bit of a bigger problem.

Not if they're trained to only go after poachers.

They'd be guerrilla gorillas.
posted by bwg at 10:56 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Better off airdropping them slingshots. That sort of thing, powered with a gorilla's arm, is almost as good as a rifle, and avoids all the ammo issues as well.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:24 PM on August 5, 2008


That'd make for a wickedly confusing episode of CSI: Congo.

"Massive bruising about the head and shoulders... broken legs.. and there appears to be a banana lodged in his ribcage"
posted by tehloki at 1:37 AM on August 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


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