Gorillas in Captivity

Gorillas in Captivity

Gorillas at Zoos

The issue of gorillas in captivity is one that continues to be a huge debate in society. Many people argue that these animals are simply too close to humans in their make up for them to be held in captivity. They view them as very humanistic in their physical appearance as well as their thought process. That is a situation that makes many people uncomfortable.

However, the gorilla exhibits at zoos are often among the most popular. People love to come to see them interact in this environment. They also are in awe of the size of these animals. If there are young gorillas there too then people are mesmerized by the antics that they engage in. To keep gorillas happy in captivity, large habitats that resemble their own natural one have to be created. They don’t do very well in small enclosures.

For the most part gorillas in captivity seem to do very well. Of course they have to follow the protocol of the outside world – only one silverback and then several females and her offspring. As the offspring get to be about 11 years of age they will need to be transferred to a new location so that the males aren’t a threat for the silverback. The females need to be moved so that they will successfully mate in the future with another gorilla.

The life for a gorilla in captivity is one that can last up to 50 years. Some of them have been able to live longer than that but it is a rarity. For those that are born into captivity they seem to adjust to this world with ease. However, all gorillas are very curios by nature. As humans are watching them they will be watching as well. This is why they often pick up behaviors from people. Some of them are fun and others are inappropriate.

In some zoos you will see large splinters in the glass and other signs that the gorillas have been aggressive in the past. Many people are upset by this and feel threatened. Yet it is important to understand such problems arise when humans are on the other side and teasing gorillas to the point where they feel threatened.

Many campaigns on place out there are to help get gorillas their freedom. They don’t feel that there is any justified reason to keep these animals out of their natural environment. There are suggestions that the mental health of gorillas suffer when they are in captivity. You can often see many of them sitting there doing nothing when in the wild they would be playing or eating.

They also don’t have the mobility to create a new nest each time they sleep. This is their normal behavior in the wild and it has to be altered for them to survive in captivity. The risk of obese gorillas in zoos is a problem too due to them sitting around so much. A proper diet is one way to control this but it can be hard to get these gorillas who seem to have given up on life in general to get the exercise they need.

However, the goal is to only keep those in captivity that have been born there. Zoos aren’t out there trying to get them from the wild and to care for them in a new environment. Sometimes this happens though if a gorilla has been harmed in traps or other problems in the wild and they would die without the additional care.

Gorillas are very susceptible to common health problems including pneumonia, bacterial infections, viruses, and even the measles so care has to be given when they are in contact with humans to reduce risk of them developing such problems.