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November 18, 2020
Jungle of the Apes Keeper Lindsey Gray witnessed a play interaction between Western lowland gorillas Nadaya and Bakari. The gorillas are half brothers and have a very close bond having lived together their whole lives. It is not uncommon for males to play with each other in bachelor groups, but these two are especially playful with each other. The vocalizations you are hearing are them “laughing.” Nadaya and Bakari don’t seem to care as much when keepers watch them play, whereas when our other two males, Jontu and Joe, play they always stop when they realize they are being watched.
This play “fighting” is a very common way for them to play and is much different than an actual gorilla fight. You can see Nadaya’s large canine teeth that he could definitely do damage with if he wanted to. This playing is just a way for these boys to maintain their close bond and show that they trust each other. Our bachelor group has four males and these brothers will usually back each other up if there are ever issues with the older two males.