Ndume is showing his playful side by tossing blankets on his head. His social interaction with caregivers often includes playing like this, or his other favorite game of chase. He ends this round of toss with a string of gestures that express how he’s feeling.
“Play, Pat-Belly, Slap-Feet, Love, Gorilla, Chest-Slap.”
He is having fun playing and wants to continue.
Like all gorillas, Ndume has a repertoire of natural gestures that we frequently see and document him using in a variety of ways. He also expresses himself through vocalizations and responds to spoken English. Being able to communicate with him allows us to provide better care. He lets us know how he is feeling and what his needs and wants are and we do our best to accommodate them. This communication fosters trust and allows us to better understand each other.
Blog and Video:
Dr. Christa Nunes, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Gorilla Care and Research
Gorilla Caregiver / Researcher