Gorilla growing pains
Trekking through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the programme makers were able to glimpse into the private lives of the primates living here. They discovered that growing up is never easy, even if you're a gorilla.Read Twijiki's story
An Intimate portrait of gorilla family life
So much of gorilla life mirrors our own experience: the joy and happiness of a new birth; worry for a sick infant; the tenderness of relationships built over decades; the horror of a violent death. Feelings we can all understand and share, yet this is not a human family but a group of Mountain Gorillas.
Meet our characters below
At under a year old he's the youngest character in our cast, facing the most dangerous period of any gorilla's life.
A silverback in his prime and a skillful gorilla leader who wisely lets others do his dirty work.
The hands-on father left to care for his daughter after her mother left the group.
A silverback on the cusp of adulthood learning the hard way that growing up in the gorilla world is far from easy.
A young female consumed by her hormones and causing more than a little bit of trouble for Rukina.
Titus’s son. Banished to the wilderness but returning to claim his father’s throne. He's after what every male gorilla wants – a group of his own.
Leader of the biggest mountain gorilla family in the world. A staggering 46 gorillas look to him for leadership and protection.
Our cameras have been given privileged access to these amazing animals. On location for over six months, with crews filming in Uganda, Rwanda and The Democratic Repulic of Congo, this definitive series documents the state of the mountain gorilla at the beginning of the 21st century.
WHAT'S IT LIKE FILMING MOUNTAIN GORILLAS?
I honestly believe that in the whole of Bwindi Impenetrable forest there is one single piece of flat ground! This hallowed piece of compacted earth, about 15 metres long is tantalisingly half an hour walk into the forest on one of the main trails we used to find the gorillas. I would walk especially slowly over this piece of ground knowing full well that it would be the last I would see for the remainder of the day.
Walking to the gorillas took anything from 30 minutes to four hours. The forest was relatively benign compared to many tropical areas, only small black wasps bothered us from time to time when we inadvertently strayed too close to their nests.
The experience varied greatly with the seasons. We could be drenched to the skin in the rainy season and shivering with cold whilst the gorillas stayed snug in their thick black fur whilst in the dry season we’d shelter under huge tropical leaves to keep away from the burning sun.
The physical energy required to track gorillas on a daily basis is huge. I have the upmost respect for the teams of trackers, field staff, researchers and vets who do this year after year.
No amount of fatigue and discomfort could detract from the most incredible honour of spending time in the presence of mountain gorillas. Everyday the gorillas, who we came to know as individuals would surprise us, make us laugh out loud, thrill us with their antics and take us ever deeper into their secret world. I have missed them every day since we left.
Rosie Gloyns, Producer
A NEW BORN MOUNTAIN GORILLA
This is the dominant female from Cantsbee's group and one morning after a four hour walk we found that she had given birth in the night. Her baby is just hours old.
BBC WILDLIFE FINDER - explore life on earthEastern gorillas
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