Rwanda Day 3 – 5 January 2014

Mostly clear with large cloud banks largely surrounding the mountains,
60 degrees F @ 0600, warming than previous mornings due to the cloud cover throughout the night.

Today was another lengthy hike, with mud like I have not seen before.  Our goal today was the Umubano Group.  Last year this Group had three silver backs when I visited them; however, this year only two remained as the third had died of old age. I was looking forward to seeing them again, as I had heard of another small baby in the in the group.

Upon contact, we saw a baby ( some 8-9 months old) with only one foot. According to the Ranger, its’ mother and another female were fighting over the baby resulting in the baby’s foot being pulled off during early stages of infancy. Watching the baby get around today, it was obvious that she had adapted well and was totally capable of keeping up with the other gorillas in her group and was unaware that she lacked an appendage.

In doing research on the gorillas, I recall reading that they would not drink from standing water, taking all of their water from plants.  According to the literature, the gorillas would see their reflection in the standing water and it would case a bit of a scare or they would become inquisitive about this other gorilla in front of them (their reflection).  Today, I witnessed this as we watched a young gorilla play with his reflection in a small mud puddle.

Charles, the senior Silver Back of the Group (distinguishable by the red hair on his brow).
Nikon, D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 155, ISO 1250, 1/200 sec at f/5.6  Auto ISO, Altitude 9199 Feet.  This image was taken here.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200, ISO 800, 1/125 sec at f/4.5 Auto IS

We took it easy during the after noon and as luck would have it, the skies opened up and we were treated to one heck of an African rain storm. Lasting only for an hour, it was a solemn reminded of just how hard it can rain in this area and how the mountains surrounding us, make their own weather.

Cheers and happy photoing.

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