Animals

By Harriet Whitehead


This is the shocking moment a young gorilla gets hurled into the air by an older gorilla as a punishment for playing too rough.

A sequence of photographs shows two-year-old Afia flying through the air after the elder Kera flings her away only for the other gorillas to rally round in Afia’s defence.

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Zoo chiefs said the young western lowland gorilla was unharmed after the exchange which happened at Bristol Zoo last week during a public talk.

Lynsey Bugg, curator of mammals at Bristol Zoo, said: “During a public talk Afia, our two-year-old western lowland gorilla, was told off for getting too excited and playing roughly with the youngest of our troop – Ayana.

“Kera, our 14-year-old female, was quick to discipline her for her behaviour but was subsequently told off by the rest of the troop – possibly because they felt she had been a little rough herself.

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“This is completely normal gorilla behaviour and effectively shows the strong hierarchy within our troop.

Gorillas are very robust and Afia didn’t come to any harm. In fact, the troop calmed down quickly and went back to enjoying their lunch.”

Afia was described as a miracle baby when she was born by emergency c-section in February 2016 after her mum showed symptoms of a pre-eclampsia.

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Weighing a tiny 2lb 6oz, she was hand reared because her mum was too ill to care for her.

She was later adopted by the zoo’s most dominate female Romina.

Afia is one of a only a handful of gorillas worldwide to be be born by emergency caesarean.

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Bristol Zoo Gardens is home to a troop of seven western lowland gorillas who are led by Silverback, Jock.

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered primates from countries such as Cameroon in the west Central Africa region.