A man visiting Bwindi National Park in Uganda identified as John probably had one of the most fulfilling, shocking, scary, exciting, awe-inspiring moments of his life.
USA Today reports that park rangers call such encounters rare, but notes that the man was on a gorilla-watching tour, so the animals could be accustomed to humans to an extent.
The footage catches John getting groomed and thoroughly examined by a pack of baby gorillas and their mom, all while the huge daddy silverback stands close by (note: zip to 2:32 to get right to the grooming):
First, a baby gorilla checks out John. John keeps his head down to avoid appearing threatening. Right when you think it’s all over because the silverback pulls the baby away and gives John a good stare, the babies just walk behind John and set up shop grooming, as if he were one of the pack.
As John’s colleague kindly notes, papa is just three babies away. How is John feeling? “My heart is racing. [...] I feel like one of the gang.” As his colleague observes, John’s black shirt may be what helped him join the crew.
When it’s all over. Both men have a laugh of amazement — and relief.
Is John set to becoming the Jane Goodall of gorillas?