Friday, May 1, 2009

Harper and Gorilla Haven

We got to feed Oliver and Joe fruit (watermelon, mango, strawberries and blueberries) Joe loved the strawberries, and Oliver loved the blueberries and the watermelon)
Harper sitting on the life size stuffed gorilla at Jane's house. Her entire house was covered wall to wall with pictures of gorilla's. She also had gorilla figurines everywhere. It was amazing.
We had to cover our mouths when we were around Oliver and Joe to make sure they do not get sick. We also were instructed to not look them directly in the eye and to divert our eyes from them.

Here is a picture of Oliver just hanging out.

While in Atlanta we got to experience something that I never in a million years would have imagined. We got to come face to face, litterally within touching pinkie distance of two silverback male gorilla's (Oliver 21, and Joe, 46) . It was a really breathtakingly beautiful experience. One that I will never forget.

Okay I know you may be wondering how in the world we had this opportunity. My mom has an old friend who has been an animal rights activist her whole life. She has a passion and love for gorilla's and has devoted her life to learning about and championing causes for gorilla's well being.

After a lot of education, dreaming and planning her and her husband started work on what is now Gorilla Haven, a world class, temporary or permanant holding facility for zoo gorilla's that are in need, usually because they have become "non-display" gorillas due to health or personality issues. Non-display gorillas are typically kept in small cages at zoos, Gorilla Haven provides a large natural environment for them to live out the rest of their lives.

Gorilla Haven is located in the North Georgia mountains and is set on 324 seculted, wooded acres complete with a fully outfitted verterinary hospital, administration area, food preparation area, individual vilas to house the gorillas, and a 6,000 sq foot group building designed for family groups of gorillias. Gorilla Haven partners with zoo's around the world. The facility truely is amazing and I was overwhelmed when I saw it.

Joe and Oliver were facinated with Harper and tried to barter food, a card board box, and a stick for her. We didn't think that was a fair trade. I got some great video footage which I will put on our next blog.


erynn said...

this frightens me "do not make eye contact with them or they will eat you"

Katie said...

love that picture of Harper sitting on the stuffed gorilla! i hope you frame that one. ;)