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Bobo the western lowland gorilla shows his gentle side with a fragile friend

Chloe Kerr, September 4, 2018 8:02AM Kids News

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Rescue gorilla Bobo makes a tiny new pal after finding a bush baby in his enclosure. media_cameraRescue gorilla Bobo makes a tiny new pal after finding a bush baby in his enclosure.

animals

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Bobo, a 158kg western lowland gorilla, has been photographed caring for and playing with one of the world’s smallest primates* – a tiny, wild bush baby barely as big as the gorilla’s finger.

Bobo and the bush baby prove size doesn't matter when it comes to friendship. Picture: supplied
media_cameraBobo and the bush baby prove size doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship. Picture: supplied

The 24-year-old male gorilla let his wild pal crawl all over his body for two hours.

He then gently placed it back in a tree at Mefou Primate Sanctuary*, in Cameroon, which is in central Africa.

A park spokeswoman said: “On his morning checks, our gorilla caregiver* discovered Bobo cradling a young, wild bush baby.

“The bush baby had probably been living inside the gorilla’s enclosure*, which is covered in trees, or just outside the fence line, as the area surrounding it is forest.

Bush babies are normally nocturnal, but this one was wide awake during the day. Picture: supplied
media_cameraBush babies are normally nocturnal, but this one was wide awake during the day. Picture: supplied

“The bush baby showed no fear of Bobo – moving around his body and spending time hopping around in an open grassy area, before choosing to return to Bobo.”

This article first appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.

An adult male bush baby, a tiny nocturnal primate, photographed at the Singapore Zoo.
media_cameraAn adult male bush baby, a tiny nocturnal primate, photographed at the Singapore Zoo.

BUSH BABIES

Bush babies are primates and are also called galago. There are at least 20 different species of bush babies but scientists think there may be many more that haven’t been found yet.

They live in forests in Africa, usually in big family groups.

They make a sound like a baby crying, have big, round eyes that help them see at night, long tails that help them leap around in trees and can fold their ears.

They have fingers, toes and flat fingernails like humans.

There are many different coloured bush babies.

This baby western lowland gorilla was born at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on September 1, 2017

WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS

These gorillas are critically endangered, but are far more common than their nearest relatives, the mountain gorillas.

Their scientific name is Gorilla gorilla gorilla.

They live in the dense rainforest of central Africa, in countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are in danger because the forests are being cleared and they are also hunted for meat.

They are vegetarians.

Their babies are tiny and helpless and ride on their mothers’ backs for the first two or three years.

In zoos, western lowland gorillas have learned sign language.

They are usually calm, non-threatening animals unless they are frightened.

Yuska the western lowland gorilla, which lives at Melbourne Zoo. Picture: Jay Town
media_cameraYuska the western lowland gorilla, which lives at Melbourne Zoo. Picture: Jay Town

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GLOSSARY

primates: mammals including humans, gorillas, bush babies, monkeys, orang-utans, lemurs, baboons, and chimpanzees

sanctuary: a safe place, such as a zoo or national park

caregiver: someone who looks after someone or something. Zoo keepers are caregivers

enclosure: fenced area

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

QUICK QUIZ

1. How heavy is Bobo?

2. What are the two primate species in this story?

3. Where does Bobo live?

4. Why are bush babies called this name?

5. What are other examples of primates? Read the glossary if you’re not sure.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

1. Picture storybook writing

This cute pairing seems like perfect inspiration for a picture story book! Write your own short story about Bobo and the bush baby. When writing your story, think about what type of adventure they might go on, what problems they might face, or what funny things could result from their vast size difference. Also try to weave some factual information about each animal that you have learnt from this news article into your story.

Write, edit and proofread your story, then create one or more illustrations to go with it.

2. Extension: Work with a partner: read your stories to each other and provide constructive feedback to improve each other’s work.

Time: Allow 45 minutes

Curriculum links: English, The Arts — Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY

With a partner see if you can you identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.

Try and see if you can replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.

HAVE YOUR SAY: If you could safely spend a day playing with any sort of primate, which would you choose? Why? Use full sentences. No one-word answers.

Extra Reading in animals