Damien Timms - Gorillas in the mist

Running time
1 min 42 sec
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I remember I went up to see the mountain gorillas. If you're in a place like that, it's quite rare to see these animals, and you don't realise how big they are. I was certainly interested because when you first get in the country, they had a stuffed one in the lobby. We'd also heard that they not just had murdered people but they were going out and just killing the gorillas just for the sake of it. You get up there and they tell you not to stare at them because monkeys, if you look at their eyes they get challenged. Just to look down and be obedient and never run. Never run they say.

Walking up there it's like the guides were with us and there were a few other doctors and nurses. And I had alpha male syndrome “I'll lead from the front”. In reality that was the scariest thing because you can see these things. The silver back, one finger is about the size of four of mine and they're just snapping bamboo and chewing on it. And as we're walking closer he started beating his chest. It's like, "Whoa, here we go. It's going to kick off". And then it runs to challenge at me and I just looked at him like this. I was shaking as well but I remember just standing there and looking. Then it took off and did a few grunts. You're nothing. I've stamped my authority. I looked around. The people that were behind me originally, they'd all run and I was just standing there by myself.

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