A photographer shared an incredible clip showing a 300-pound-plus silverback gorilla beating its chest inches from another photographer.
The now-viral clip — that’s amassed over 92 million views on TikTok and over 22 million on Instagram — shows the large male in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda standing close to a squatting photographer when he begins to inflate his air sacs, which sounds like a whinny.
Then the mountain gorilla raises to his hind legs and beats his chest as he charges over toward the squatting photographer who barely moves, staying calm and collected.
The clip was shared by Richard De Gouveia, a professional guide and pro photographer who explains that the gorillas beat their chests to keep warm.
“While watching another gorilla, the silverback came marching in from behind us and put on a show that won’t be forgotten in a hurry by our cool, calm, and collected guest who handled the moment perfectly,” explains De Gouveia on social media. “She then moved out to make sure we kept a safe distance from the gorillas.”
De Gouveia says that his groups try and maintain a big distance from the gorilla but “in reality, it doesn’t always work out this way.” The photographer in the video, who is holding a telephoto lens, is also wearing a mask which helps to “minimise any passing on of our diseases to them.”
The gorillas in the video are the Kwisanga family, mountain gorillas who live in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
“We are also limited to one hour with the family as this is the point at which the chance of sharing our diseases with them exponentially increases,” adds De Gouveia.
Most people in the comments remarked on how calm the photographer was and how scared they would have been had they been in her situation.
“That cameraman either got nerves of steel or dirty drawers,” writes one person. “My soul would have left my body,” adds another.
De Gouveia, who is a Sony Alpha ambassador, operates Arc Earth which offers customized safaris with a focus on conservation.
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This article by Matt Growcoot was first published by PetaPuxel on 8 September 2023. Lead Image: Courtesy of Richard De Gouveia.