“Are you kidding me?! I’m a gorilla!”
These were John King’s words at the end of an experience he may never forget. The 680,000 people who have seen the Youtube video may not soon forget it, either.
On Dec. 11, King was in a private safari camp near Bwindi National Park, in Uganda, to see mountain gorillas. Apparently, they wanted to see him, too. He was sitting beside a trail when a family of wild gorillas joined him. Curious about their fellow primate, at least two of the gorillas touched King’s head and neck, smelled him and tasted him on their fingers.
Bwindi is home to roughly half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas (an endangered species) — roughly 350 individuals. Very occasionally young gorillas are curious about humans and may approach. Adult-gorilla-to-human interactions are virtually unheard of among the local rangers.
King, a Massachusetts-based wildlife photographer and conservationist, and his wife, Pam King, have been traveling the world for the past four years to experience Earth’s remaining wild places and record them.
The Kings are also in the process of publishing a book, “Wild Cape Cod, Free by Nature,” that aims to portray Cape Cod before humans arrived through photographs the couple have taken.