Animals

By Harriet Whitehead


This gorilla looks ready to charge into battle armed with a spear in a scene reminiscent of Hollywood film Braveheart.

Western lowland gorilla Kivu was snapped carrying a large stick as he roamed around his enclosure in Paignton Zoo, Devon.

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Looking towards the camera, the 400lb beast lurches forward with his mouth open clutching the stick as if he’s about to go to war.

The sequence of pictures, taken by a regular zoo visitor last week, show Kivu then lobbing the stick into a moat.

The gorilla wouldn’t look out of place in the 1995 war epic starring Mel Gibson.

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The photographer said: “At the afternoon talk they sometimes display their dominance to each other, which is good to watch.

“Kivu found a big stick and decided to display, or charge, with it.

“Later he picked up the stick again and threw it underarm into the moat surrounding their island.”

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Kivu, who is 16 years old, arrived at the zoo in 2006 and is described as a very smart gorilla who loves showing off.

Paignton Zoo has a bachelor group of Western lowland gorillas which are a critically endangered species.

The zoo provides a place for them to grow up in a social environment.

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Some may move on to be the dominant males in bachelor or family groups in other collections as part of the European breeding programme.