Growing up Gorilla at Lefini Faunal Reserve

From Pharyngula, I got this image of a orphaned baby gorilla holding a human hand at Lefini Faunal Reserve. It is actually from 1998. Dates aside, this photo effectively captures the emotions of “bush-meat orphans,” young gorillas whose mothers are illegally killed by poachers for meat, without showing face.

In case you wanted to put this awesome image as your desktop here’s a link for the highest resolution image, 1024×768.

23 thoughts on “Growing up Gorilla at Lefini Faunal Reserve

  1. I have been facinated with primates and all animals my whole life. I’m 52 yrs old and hope I’m in the position to volunteer at the gorilla project Lafini Faunal Reserve documented on Growing Up Gorilla. I have 20 years of veterinary technician experience and 50 years of adopting/loving my pets including horses. I have raised a daughter and have 2 young grandaughters that I’ve recently cared for 24/7 for more than 6 weeks. They are back home with their father now. I’ve followed Koko’s developement for about 20 years, I guess. I’m not sure this is the right forum to make “my case”, but if not, please help direct me to the right site. I’m strong, willing to live in the conditions depicted, (not bad) and have a real passion. I am married with a US government job, so I could only volunteer to do whatever I can over there for about 1-2 months at a time. I have the financial ability for my own transportaion and am used to living simple. This was the best show I’ve seen (and believe me, I never tune out a show about gorillas, primates in general) to put the emphasis out there of the need to protect these beautiful creatures. Please respond.
    Cindy Larsen

  2. Cindy, we’d be happy to help but I don’t know how we can assist you on what you are exactly requesting help on.

    I personally do not have any contacts over at Lefini Faunal Reserve. Is that what you need help with? Finding someone to help you volunteer over there?


  3. Hi Cindy, if you mean the Animal Planet programme, Growing up Gorilla, the project featured was the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund and I co-ordinate the volunteer programme. There is a volunteer page on our website at and you can download an application form to send to me.
    Hope that helps!

    ps sorry this is so long after your initial post, I was browsing the internet for Growing up Gorilla info and came across this site.

  4. This comment was deleted. It is inappropriate for this blog.
    Animal cruelty is a crime punishable by law, and so is advocating it. It will not be tolerated on this site.

    Bumbaclot, one more post like this and you will be banned. The same goed for other posters with similar ideas.

    Ruben Blijdorp

  5. funny how that bombaclot fellow said what i have been dying to say for years. how sick i am of these treehuggers who humanize apes. Gawd what desperate clutching for money this entire sham is. I find that jane goodall, and her ilk, r. hogan, s speede talia the cronins etc. are responsible for apes not fearing humans being taught to beg whole orphan colonies of orangutans are ground dwellers through human influence. What are you trying to elevate gorillas chimps orangutans and tobonobos to human status for? Whats is your real agenda? I say we eradicate any funding to the apecenters instead give that money to the people for food medicine etc. apes are animals. people ccome first. DO have that bbq for the poachers serve up the infants from all the centers. I want shufai to torment and roast alive for rachel give her his head to take home. AH well only a fantasy but soo much fun. yummy ape meat.

    1. Lucy, In the blackness of anthropmorphist cash-grabbing, somebody speaks the truth. Thank you so much. You are a rare thinker of special qualities. Most people stumble about believing most anything that they see on-line or television. You look, question and then, draw your own conclusions. Good for you.

  6. I fear for the future of not only non-human primates, but all of mankind with people like the last two posters living in this world with us. You both are sick, ignorant Great Apes, yes, it’s true whether you like it or not, you both ARE Great Apes, and two of the ugliest examples I’ve had the misfortune of coming across.

  7. these last three all have issues. the first two are nuts as proven by the last entry, and the other one is just outraged by the loonacy. one did bring up a dilema, why is so much attention drawn to the plight of the apes when darfur, nigeria, cameroon, are in turmoil and the people are dying, why the focus on apes? You see I consider humans ( yes even these three )to be above apes. And that point about goodall screwing chimps up by making the gombe chimps reliant on the feeding actual contact and humans holding infants etc. I watched jane goodall state now that it was an error to contact chimps the way she did, but not that she admits to wrongdoing just method. But others used her model to interfere directly in the other ape cultures. I am getting weary of the endless barrage of save the planet, the apes, whales, gila monsters, fire ants , two toed sloth,etc. I live in the north american dream, I enjoy all the comforts of my culture, which makes it too easy to condem a hunter who has eaten ape for centuries, when he starts to sell the infants to get more money in a shit economy. Its too easy to sit in my heated home(hmmmmwhere does the oil come from hmmmm….),with a full belly(thankyou palm oil), ooops orangutans dying, to type on my fancy key board, wearing my designer whatever. Do you see that the hunter is selling the babys usually to the rich, for a few palrty dollars or cents to feed his family. I know i grerw up laughing at chimps gorillas on tv as a kid. You see spoiled teen girls are usually the ones writing the outraged blogs while sucking up the western lifestyle spoiled wearing apetested makeup, driving cars, yakking on cellphoned bubbleheads. You know the type, vacant look til a sale on clothes shoes lights them up. well now I am ranting , you see what a provacative subject this is? Not all animal defenders are phonies like the majority is there are a few who really are commited. But to the rest give your heads a shake, look around you take stock of whats around you, do you enjoy the comforts of the west( see above), sit at your computer and see a tiny ape and go awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, how cute and boom,SAVE THEM………. now what? Hey conserve do what you can but do not be a phony, in fact I see a growing backlash in the blogs regarding apes and ape sanctuaries, not the work but the recources being poured into apes when people are dying, and of course the debate about humanizing apes. I for one do not agree with the trend to humanize animals in order to save them. Killing any animal in purposeless(that is determined by whomever is on the ground) ways is a horrible waste and I do not agree with the slaughter no,no,no,no,never, but I am not going to condem the hunter when we in the west have created a demand for apes medical reasearch, entertainment, pets. So if there was no demand in the first place……………………………………….. this kind of reminds me of s story my father told me about the war, in the killing camps, auswitz,treblinka,sorobibor etc. the gaurds when seeing the allied forces getting closer began to treat the prisoners with great kindness, and almost subservience, reminding them that they saved their lives on many occasions they didn’t even know about………………………………………………ah but I digress, back to the backlash I can see these blogs lighting up with more discussions,

  8. Thanks so much for your request to volunteer on Growing up Gorilla. I too, am interested and couldn’t find it on the Discovery website.

  9. Humans are the most inferior animal that ever walked the earth. Why should I bother helping humans if they don’t even help themselves?

  10. I find the above responses from bobaclot to cate and chicka quite funny. I mean affording animals human rights? come on! The question was raised in a fantasy way would you or I kill the apes if we could get away with it. Shocked to see a woman or girl respond yes! Shows you how funny people can be. When I hear people at work yakking about that question I am surprised at how many would torture and cook the infant apes alive. I also found that we as a culture are fed up with save the diminishing apes on t.v. magazines. media ETC> we are getting desensitized to the plight of apes stop begging so frequently okay? we do get it the apes are being wiped out. But the govts. on the ground are responsible for their own lands, who are you to tell them how to live? Why would I feel bad for them I have my own troubles thankyou.I mean the real work at the centers is overblown we created demand for apes here in the west and why are we paying for someone elses screwup.

  11. Wow what a lively response that bubaclot fellow started. Well I have to say something. First some of those terrible torments and stuff he wants to do to the apes is funny(I”m sorry but the visual was quite hilarious cruel huh). But I do see the point that woman Lucy left that apes are being given human rights, apes are animals africans have been hunting and eating them for ages. We condem african farmars hunters, for trying to make a few dollars to supplement ther very meager income. One anti ape blogger asked if the su pporters are willing to feed an african family with the leftovers from their flowing tables. Of course not! You tree huggers are for most part phonies sitting in your split-level bungalow, stuffing your mouth with snacks(read the ingrediants; PALM OIL) whoops 5 more orangutans died as I wrote this, to keep them out of plantations where rightly they are considered pests. You wear animal tested makeup eat palm oil products, Suck up gas like crazy with your SUVs. Yeah real stellar examples you are. THESE APES ARE ONLY ANIMALS NOT HUMANS!

  12. What is with the debaye about human rights for apes about? Are animals to be afforded all the rights exclusive to humankind? If so how are these rights to be implemented? Will there be ape human interspecies marriages? How will the children be considered? Will they be able to stay off the chandelier or say take up residence in the local monkey bars at the park, will they scream and hurl feces at others or munch the turds themselves? HMMMMMMM…….. human rights for apes boy that could really go bananas haw haw haw. So these writers of the horrible ( but oddly funny visuals come to mind) ape tortures and what is it?, barbecue them alive stuff could instead use gentle humor, not the badly spelled( no spellcheck?) hateful stuff and the other side the rabid ape defenders who wish all manners of horrible deaths for fellow humans (loonatics huh?) So the next thing could be nupitals for Jane Goodall and Mr. Frodo Pan Troglodite. Nine months after the blessed event a Baby! A beautiful baby girl( quite hairy and loud ) tiny arms waving all six fingers and 17 toes grasping at a harried looking Jane , the baby was named Betty. Unfortunaltely Mr. Frodo in one of his frequent homicidal rages snatched the howling infant and outy the window! Two hours later The search party found Mr. Frodo lazing under a tree belching and picking his teeth with what looked like a finger bone. The mangled partially eaten, baby was found Stuffed in a tree, and Frodo wad led away and the trial was sensational! A whole panel of “Primatologists” were brought forth to defend the ape( not human but ape). We were pleased to see that Frodo was treated like a human and convicted and his head was cut off by an axe one clean cut the blood spurted about three feet from the neck stump black atrerial columns pumping 5 or 6 times and dying out qiuck. The ape defenders tried to use hes only an animal defense, which has been used with success twice before. so in the end ape citizenship backfired on Jane her husband Frodo and Poor Betty who was terrorized in the last few minutes of her life. Frdo killed her slowly eating pieces off her and keeping her alive. And Jane got to take frodos head home to nail to her front door with the big red banner APE LOVER ! aND SO THIS HUMOROUS TALE ENDS. Ta Da!

  13. What a funny story that Tom P. fellow wrote. That is so much funnier than the torture and cook the apes stuff(though these do have deliciuosly funny parts too), this fellow has a wit that is both acerbic and controversial. I would advise anyone who writes this to state it is their opinion, only. I also found a woman Rose. who got quite catty about miss Hogans appearance, how can one dress well working with apes peeing and pooing and vomiting, she is a bit frumpy like the girl the football team gang banged after the game you know no skills with men but able to go like a trooper,Hence the nickmane “monkey humper” So the story is too funny and I am waiting for the next chapter.

  14. As a woman I am going to start sponsoring these anti save the apes foundation( if there isn’t there ought to be), at least they are the only outcry against save the apes baloney! I too saw the National Geographic special on Frodo killing an infant human; and the second stalking and maiming and killing of two humans by escaped apes. I am also disgusted and appalled by the instant defense that ape apologists sprang to was the old tired one “they are acting instinctaully as animals defending their territory” What a self serving bunch of hypocrites! I find when the orphan apes are presented as “human” I want to scram in frustration at the primatologists that are dual minded(how conveniant) and these dammed apes are still roaming free! In fact they still enjoy protected status. I do love the story about Jane Goodall Marrying the Chimp frodo, and the ensuing carnage during the wedding night, plus the bit about viagra in the banana was soooo funny , my friends and I all howled at the thought and we all agree,, this would be a fitting fate for the original corrupter of chimps destroyer of their life as chimps, turning them into abberations neither fully animal and definately not human! I also wonder why these women cannot seem to attract a man, is it the smell of gorilla poo or the poor grooming habits they have frumpy, no hairdo just ape done, shapeless clothing , plus that habit of climbing the furniture is not so attractive girls and have any of you seen a razor whew! Now I am being catty sorry pms you know. So apes are animals and that is all they are period!

  15. The most posts here make me feel ashamed of being a member of the species homo sapiens sapiens, the most intelligent and cruel animal, that ever walked on this planet. Too cruel, greedy and amoral to live in peace and wealth. Why do we have hunger, torture and war? Just look at most posts here and you know why. Everybody who finds it funny to chop fingers of apes, would do it with delight to its own species.

  16. No one wants to chop arms off apes dummy! The points that some of the anti ape writers were …read slowly ..o..k..a..y… Whay are so many rare(in Afrca for ordinary people humans) medicines and specialized medical treatments given to baby apes instead of humans? and why are they diapered loved cuddled just like human children, as well as 24/7 human mommies. And why are apes being pushed on us as being “just like us” in order to have them declared persons? (yes I know Spain has enacted personhood status for apes…oh and the chimpanzees tha were taken from the beach vendors did you replace the lost income for the you just villify the working man destroy his livelihood and waltz away with a filthy animal,leaving the vendor to eke out a living right? You phony hippocrites!) You people led by that great destroyer of apes Jane Goodall have put apes above humans shame shame shame species traitors!!!!!

  17. Enough of these horrible writings on both sides of this obviously emotional topic. Stop this foolish back and forth threatening, and posturing! If you do not agree with the methods used by the ape preservationists, then write your opinion, clearly concisely, and with civility. And to the pro save the ape supporters, please do not write back nasty retorts because you are obviously being caught in the trap set for you by some of the anti ape writers. Please use this forum in a civil manner, and let us discuss this in a reasonable manner. Thankyou for reading this small opinion.

  18. As you may have seen I deleted the post of Bumbaclot.
    This forum is a place to exchange ideas about primatology. I am completely in favor of a little hearty discussion about conservation topics, and some criticism never hurt anyone. But we WILL stay civil and keep our posts within certain limits. Bumbaclot’s post was well over the line.
    For those contemplating a freedom of speech rant: there are laws around what you can and cannot say in public. You cannot slander or advocate violence or any other criminal act. Furthermore, as editors of the board we do not allow for direct insults or disrespectful posts aimed at other board users. Live with it, or leave….please.

  19. I don’t understand why so many people posting here are so against someone caring about something. Yes, there are a lot of problems in the world, but you can’t fight every battle for everyone across the globe. Why is it so bad if someone finds something that they feel passionately about and they want to help? Just because it isn’t the cause you would choose to support doesn’t mean you have to put it down. Someone made the argument that most people who care about saving gorillas are teenage girls obsessed with sales and cell phones. The reality is that yes, a lot of teenagers and people in general are comfortably middle class and go about their day to day lives, most of these people will never care about anything but their day to day lives. So isn’t it a good thing if they find something outside of themselves to care about? Whatever it is? It is at least a step in the right direction. Furthermore, if someone wants to make a true sacrifice to try and help, how on earth can we insult them? Are you just going to tell them they are going for the wrong cause, they should support yours instead? I mean I wouldn’t walk up to someone who is attempting to document the memories of Auschwitz survivors and tell them that they are wasting their time, there are people dying in Darfur. A little empathy all around would put the world on a better track than it is now, whether it is for animal or human. Only through caring and trying can you ever find a method that will work, supporting poor communities AND helping the wildlife. While there is a difference between humans and animals, it is interesting to note that there are studies that show that the way people treat animals directly relates to the way they treat other people. People who torture animals are quite literally psychopaths. So have your own causes whether or not you agree with putting so much effort into saving apes, but don’t be so quick to judge.

  20. I just want to say that we as human beings have gotten above ourselves to think that we own this world and therefore the animals that live on this planet. They were here before us and they will be here after us, if we don’t kill them with our arrogance. If anyone can sit here and say that you think it’s right to eat the closest thing the animal kingdom has to the the human race, then there is no hope for the world. I understand that people have to eat and make money, but there are just some lines that we are not to cross. And people wonder why the earth is falling apart, it’s because of the human race. We were given a chance at life on this planet and we have degraded every living thing on this planet. I feel sorry for us and hope that the gods above have mercy on us. For the record I do live in America and do enjoy the things that I have be blessed to have, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. And the reason I am over here is because some white people believed that black people were beneath them, my ancestors were believed to be less than a person. So should slavery have happened because some people thought that the African race was cattle to be herded around at a whim, to be killed over nothing.

  21. This photograph is copyright Michael Nichols, National Geographic. You have used this photograph without permission and without stating credit. Please remove it immediately.

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