A Bored Gorilla Takes His Kids to the Zoo (Video)

Via YouTube/Screen capture

You may have seen a gorilla in a zoo. You may have seen a gorilla in the wild. But what about wild gorillas visiting you? It happened in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park near Uganda --- an incredible, chance encounter with a troop of silverback gorillas.

As the video shows, they walked into a gorilla tracking camp and hung out a bit, even taking time to groom one of the humans (video producer John J. King II). That was, as the human sat quietly, amazed and probably scared a little out of his mind.

"It was an innocent interaction with wild gorillas," King says at the beginning, "and it was absolutely thrilling."

This looks a little like a tourism commercial ("Come see the wild mountain gorillas!"). But the creator says it's more than that.

The video has more than 2 million views on YouTube ... and it may be a good example of tourism helping preserve an endangered species. About half the world population of wild mountain gorillas (about 350) live in the National Park, according to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization).

The video, called "Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla" and produced by King of The Common Flat Project, is now being used to help raise money to protect these creatures.

The Common Flat Project is directing people to the African Wildlife Foundation. Money from wild mountain gorilla tourism also helps fund the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which oversees the National Park.

"While gorilla tourism raises some risks, it just might be the animals' best chance for survival," according to National Geographic. There are concerns about changes in gorilla behavior due to human encounters and passing human diseases to gorillas, but also rules for gorilla tracking that include keeping a distance of 20 feet from the animals (if possible, apparently).

Tags: Africa | Animals | Tourism