Zoo Guests Witness Gorilla Dad Disciplining Baby Gorilla
Glance at a number of magazines or online articles and you’ll find much is discussed about parenting styles, child discipline, and family relationships. We read, we listen, we watch examples in action, and we relate!
This time, we don’t have to look any further than the animal kingdom to see a common parent-child interaction taking place. One of the areas that seems to generate lots of debate is discipline, but as you’ll see in this clip, this papa gorilla doesn’t give a flying fig about opinions.
One-year-old baby Shufai is trying to have a good time playing with some tree branches. His dad, Oumbi, is collecting some to put away in the enclosure. Wanting to start a game, Shufai is following his pops around, trying to get a hold of branch or two to keep up the fun.
While his big bro Lope is staying on the fringes of the area and out of Dad’s way, it looks like Shufai insists on being persistent. Like a sneaky little shadow, he’s right at Oumbi’s heels and back, trying to grab onto the branch.
At first, the big gorilla uses clever movements to keep the baby at bay, but that doesn’t work for long. It’s gonna take more. Oop! He gives him a small bump with his foot. We wish we knew what was going on in Baby Shufai’s mind, but it’s obvious he got the hint. Just look at his reaction!
The entire family includes silverback gorilla Oumbi, mom Ozala, son Lope, and baby boy Shufai, and their home is at the Twycross Zoo in the UK. The zoo is really big on promoting wildlife conservation efforts and performs lots of work in-house and abroad on behalf of primates and other animals.
Oumbi, 24, and Ozala, 22, were brought together a few years ago as part of a mating program, as western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. So far, their union has produced two sons. Shufai and Lope are known for being mischievous and playful, often with each other or their parents.
With western lowland gorillas, families have social structures where an older male is typically the one in charge, and younger males follow the lead in terms of learning how to behave and parent. As we see in this video, Oumbi means business! Watch the clip to see the interaction.
Socially, proud gorilla papas have been known to dish out discipline through grunts, mock charging, or with a gentle pat. Naughtiness and arguments do not go unchecked, as there is a hierarchy and set of etiquette rules that these families are bound by.
Sound familiar? Gorillas are not so different from human parents who know how to set boundaries. This particular family may not have to worry about debates on spanking or time-outs, but they’ve figured it out. And Shufai may think twice about snatching branches again – but since he’s a toddler, probably not.
Can you relate to how his gorilla dad checked his little one’s behavior? Do you have a special place in your heart for animals like these? What do you think of this video?