Feb 192015
 

Photographer Christophe Courteau was taking snaps of mountain gorillas in the forest of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park when the group’s 250 kg alpha male charged at him out of the blue.

Amazingly, Courteau managed to get in one last shot of the incoming fist before the punch connected.

Caters News Agency reports that the very disgruntled ape was “drunk”from eating bamboo stems, which ferment in gorilla stomachs causing the animals to become intoxicated.

“In less than a second, he was on me, and strongly hit me like a rugby player. With the shock, I felt all his power and weight on my body,”Courteau recalls.

GORILLA PUNCH 01 2015 02 10

GORILLA PUNCH 02 2015 02 10

Courteau notes that his gorilla subjects are usually timid, and tend to avoid close contact with humans. But it seems that getting boozed up on bamboo had made the alpha male rowdy and aggressive – and the unlucky photographer wasn’t even the intended target of the gorilla’s rage.

“He did not care about me, and pushed me out the way with his left hand like I was not there. Then he dashed through the vegetation to chase away a [rival] male behind us who looked to be interested in one of [the] females.”

GORILLA PUNCH 03 2015 02 10

GORILLA PUNCH 04 2015 02 10

When the rainy season arrives in this part of Rwanda in October, the area’smountain gorillas migrate to the slopes of the Virunga Mountains and feast on the protein-packed bamboo that’s abundant there – but too much feasting can have intoxicating consequences. And this is not the first time inebriated gorillas have made the news. In 2009, wildlife photographer Andy Rouse had his own encounterwith a gorilla group that appeared to be a little under the influence.

Fortunately, Courteaucame away (almost!) unscathed.“I was not seriously injured in the altercation; I just got a souvenir scar on my forehead. But I will remember this instant all my life long – it was like being hit by a train.”

Images: Caters News Agency

This article was first published by EarthTouch News Network on 10 Feb 2015.

 

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Maria Manuela Lopes

Uau

Susan Lee

Nope, NO body likes the paparazzi hounding them! All the photogs were too close, better keep a more respectful distance and use longer-range equipment.

Joan McMurray

I believe but am not sure that this great creature is saying "How about letting me enjoy my life in private for a change." The caged gorilla in the Jacksonville Zoo has the same message and uses the same language which we mortals call "non-verbal" communication. Nothing could be clearer.

Jeff Martin

They hate the paparazzi too.

Linda French

Not nice to play with big drunk gorilla's, maybe they learned a lesson…

Chris Courteau
Richard Barrett So, you are ready to donate 750 euros x 5 days x 6 people ? 3 times a year during 10 years ? This what I do when I guide and bring visitors, photographers. It's not only about giving money. When you go there, you have to sleep, to eat, to move, right ?… then, you give jobs to so many;, so many many people. Then you pay your Nat. Park fees. Then you hire guys on a daily basis to to give them a job, for several days. These guys, trust me, are very happy to have… Read more »
Richard Barrett

Chris Courteau And there's no way to donate without intrusive human contect?

Chris Courteau

Julie Bedd did you read the whole story ? Apparently no…

Chris Courteau

Julie Bedd did you read the whole story ? Apparently no…

Chris Courteau

Richard Barrett my friend, no visitor and in 6 months, no more Apes. Trust me.

Chris Courteau

Richard Barrett my friend, no visitor and in 6 months, no more Apes. Trust me.

Nina Stavlund

I have NO sorry feeling for these idiotic photographers. Look how close they are! This is a WILD MOUNTAIN Gorilla! Drunk or not, he's got all the right to punch these idiots! They obviously didn't respect his space, why the heck should he? Pff.. we need MORE of this. Maybe stupid humans will finally understand that wild animals are not for our pleasure!

Nina Stavlund

I have NO sorry feeling for these idiotic photographers. Look how close they are! This is a WILD MOUNTAIN Gorilla! Drunk or not, he's got all the right to punch these idiots! They obviously didn't respect his space, why the heck should he? Pff.. we need MORE of this. Maybe stupid humans will finally understand that wild animals are not for our pleasure!

Richard Barrett

So a half-dozen photogs clicking away in a gorilla environment is part of their natural habitat? You pay your fee to allow you to infringe on their territory, let's not get too righteous about it.

Julie Beddome

Exactly! Why were so many there in the first place? Oh, I see you pay to harass the gorillas. UGH.

Chris Courteau

Well, People, we are not Damn Papazzi… We go every year to the Volcanoes Nat. Park because we are really in love with those peaceful Great Apes.
And for that, we pay a Fee of 750 USD per Hour per Day which is going strait to the Gorilla Conservation and a big part to the Local People too, boosting the development and the conservation of the natural habitat..
Without visitors, and our support in terms of Money, the Mountain Gorillas would have been already wiped out…
800 individuals only remain… (Mountain Gorillas)

Chris Courteau

Well, People, we are not Damn Papazzi… We go every year to the Volcanoes Nat. Park because we are really in love with those peaceful Great Apes.
And for that, we pay a Fee of 750 USD per Hour per Day which is going strait to the Gorilla Conservation and a big part to the Local People too, boosting the development and the conservation of the natural habitat..
Without visitors, and our support in terms of Money, the Mountain Gorillas would have been already wiped out…
800 individuals only remain… (Mountain Gorillas)

Susan Frudd

Oh no not binge drinking in mountain gorilla's…..Bet the gorilla felt better for doing it…

Sal Pearson

Out on the lash, jungle style!! Photographer lucky to be alive

Terence Hale

Hi,
“In Photos: “Drunk” mountain gorilla punches wildlife photographer”. How Human.

Mark McCandlish

Hey, if I had been a drunk mountain Gorilla with all of those clowns following me around with cameras, clicking away, I'd punch their lights out too!

Bernie Dehmel

Damn Paparazzi!

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