Give me a ride! Photographer catches adorable moment young gorilla hitches a ride
A photographer has captured the adorable moment a young gorilla hitched a ride on her mum’s back.
Western Lowland Gorilla Touni was snapped carrying her one-year-old daughter Ayana around during feeding time at Bristol Zoo.
Snapped by a zoo regular Ayana, who was born at the zoo last year, can be seen back-to-back with her mum gripping on using her hands and feet.
The pair hit the headlines a few months after Ayana was born as her mum would always pick her up and lift her onto her shoulders – leaving the youngster facing backwards and seeing the world the ‘wrong way round’.
Alan Toyne, mammal keeper at Bristol Zoo, said: “Touni is a first-time mum and came from a very stable group in France so picked up all the essential parenting tips from observing other mothers in the natal group.
“She is very attentive and protective of Ayana but is relaxing now that she’s getting older and lets her play with our other young gorilla, Afia, for several hours each day.
“Ayana always rides on Touni when the troop move around Gorilla Island.
“Touni is very confident and playful and, despite her small size, is working her way towards being the most dominant female in our troop.
“Ayana’s dad is a Silverback called Jock. Silverback is the name given to the most dominant, mature and experienced male of the group, which is Jock.
“He is responsible for the safety of his troop.”
Touni, who is 10 years old and arrived at Bristol Zoo from France, will continue to feed her first born until she’s four years old.
Bristol Zoo is home to seven Western lowland gorillas who can be viewed through 180-degree glass guest viewing area, as well as out on their grassy island.
The species is Critically Endangered and in Cameroon gorillas and chimpanzees are hunted for their meat and their young are often taken and sold as pets, only to end up abandoned or dying of starvation.
Sanctuaries play a vital role in protecting and preserving this species by taking in orphaned chimps and gorillas, giving them medical attention and a safe home.