lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

G is for Gorilla

Gorilla N'Gayla twins Sabine Bresser

The image above was not taken in the wild, it is taken at Bergen Zoo by Sabine Bresser, of N’Gayla, a gorilla who unexpectedly gave birth to twins, one boy, one girl, a very rare event for gorillas.

I chose it because of her incredibly proud smile. She is, reportedly, a happy character.

Gorillas are among my favourite creatures.

To see how gentle they are, watch this short film of a chance encounter two men had with a wild gorilla family in Uganda.


 It says it all, really, doesn’t it?

They are immensely strong but rarely use that strength to do harm.

They live in balance with nature, mainly on flowers and leaves.

They are very endangered.

Here are two quotes by Dian Fossey, from “Gorillas in the Mist”, published in 2000 by Mariner Books.

“The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people”.

“When you realise the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future”.

All life is bound together in one huge link of dependency.

Our food, our water, our shelter, and our lives in every country are bound up in cycles, and one link that leaves a chain can have catastrophic effects on the creatures and plants above and below it.

We should be looking to every loss, every creature or plant in trouble, to see how to help them.

We are stripping the planet. We are destroying the very air that sustains us, and the water we drink.

We do not have the knowledge of contact with the earth any more that gives us the careful path to tread in between taking enough and leaving enough, for others, and for the continuance of our species.

Things that the gorilla knows.

We need to take a step back out of our lives and think about what is really important before it is too late.

Where is it all going to end?


Gorilla (for Julia Green)


A gorilla has massive muscles,

and is ominously dark,

can uproot banana trees

and strip the bark,

but his character is subtle,

sensitive and calm,

his power used for warning,

and rarely to harm,

for his colour has been made

from the shadows in the breeze,

his nature from the sunshine

and his food of flowers and leaves.


© Liz Brownlee


If you value gorillas, you may want to help here: WWF.


Photo © Sabine Bresser

Information from WWF.

If you would like to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click here.

If you’d like to read about or buy my book, Animal Magic, full of animal poems and fascinating facts, click here.


  1. Love the photo. How sweet! It is so sad that they are endangered.


    • It is terrible – also threatened by the civil wars that break out around them.


  2. What a lovely picture to start with. The video is amazing, not so much in how the gorillas acted around the man, although I enjoyed that, but what caught my attention was how gently the silver back redirected the young one from the man. I was reminded in that moment how many parents bark, yell, at their children when a soft touch or quiet word would work better and wouldn’t have the effect of harming the self esteem and development of the child. How much we could learn both about how to treat the environment but also how to treat each other by studying the undomesticated animals.


    • Me, to Lois. It looked for all the world like a parent just reminding their child to be polite. And this was the male gorilla!


  3. The mother with her twins photo is lovely and the video amazing. The man’s expression of pure delight was great too. One of my son’s friends takes wildlife photographs and I’ve seen many of his gorilla pictures.


    • Wonderful isn’t it? I do love gorillas, I envy you having a supply to look at, Liz!


  4. freya3377

    I love gorillas too! They are amazing creatures, aren’t they.:)
    The last few lines of your poem got me thinking. Liked them…
    “for his colour has been made
    from the shadows in the breeze,
    his nature from the sunshine
    and his food of flowers and leaves.”


  5. internetreviewofbooks

    They are beautiful animals. Thank you for such a thoughtful and interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Marvellous animals which I saw for the first time at Detroit Zoo. I have some photos of them that I will always treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have some at Bristol Zoo, Bob. We arent allowed into the zoo here though because of my assistance dog, they think she will upset the animals, particularly the gorillas. But at Belfast Zoo, when we went we were allowed to take her in, and they were just fascinated with her, they came down and surveyed her from every angle. They didn’t mind her at all, unlike the chimpanzees who hollered and and banged on the glass and gestured, the keeper told us, to ask us to throw her in!


  7. Another beautiful poem. 🙂 I love gorillas. I love all apes and monkeys. There’s something so human about them. I’ve really enjoyed following you in this A-Z Challenge! I wonder what’s up for “H”? Peace


    • Ah, thank you, something beautiful for ‘H’, Jeanne! Peace to you, too.


  8. That photo is so sweet. Her expression says “Yeah, I made these cuties.”


    • It does, doesn’t it! There were quite few pictures and she definitely looked rather proud, if not smug, in them all!


  9. Beautiful. But I think I’d be utterly terrified having the silver back RIGHT THERE!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! But he clearly knew the body language – you should never look straight at a male gorilla, as that is a threat, he kept his eyes and face averted, if you notice. That kept him safe.


  10. What an amazing gorilla video. its heart warming to see a silverback and the younger gorillas accept a human so readily into their tribe. If only the human species realized Earth isn’t just our home planet, its theirs too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wouldn’t it be good. I’ve always been an optimist, but lately I’ve begun to despair.


  11. I feel about dogs the way Dian Fossey felt about gorillas! You’ve been posting such lovely photos for this challenge.


  12. I watched this video already but I couldn’t help but see it again- so incredible! I love it. I love Gorillas in the Mist and would absolutely love to see them in the wild! Thanks for posting this 🙂
    (fellow Challenge participant here!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Christy! Thank you. I’ll come and see you now.


  13. I have seen that video and it is so wonderful. I went to the Toronto Zoo last October and the one Gorilla just had a baby who was about 6 months old. it was just amazing to watch the mom with her baby-just like a human mom. We should all learn from the animal kingdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to watch them in Bristol Zoo before I had my dog! I went quite a lot because they have 23 of my poems up on the animal enclosures…


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