When wildlife photographer Gordon Buchanan headed off to the Democratic Republic of Congo to film a piece for BBC, he never could have anticipated the rare footage he would soon capture. As his camera crew was setting up, a peculiar sight in the bushes immediately caught his eye.
A huge silverback gorilla was standing off the side of the road, scanning the scene as trucks continued driving by.
He needed to capture whatever was happening before his eyes…
Buchanan instantly knew something was up when he spotted the tense look on the gorilla’s face, but as time went by he still couldn’t figure out what the creature needed. Finally, he told his crew to step into the road to get a better look. Suddenly, the rare silverback gorilla’s intentions became clear, and with cameras rolling they were able to capture the stunning sight.
Instead of allowing the cameras to get closer (carefully), the gorilla made a bold move!
Just as Buchanan’s crew settled into the road, traffic came to a screeching halt. With the oncoming trucks completely out of sight, the 1500 pound gorilla finally made the move they had been waiting for. Bravely stepping into the middle of the street, the enormous creature stood guard as he signaled for his huge family to cross the road.
That is when the BBC crew suddenly realized that the animal was on edge because he was worried about protecting his family.
He would’ve easily given his own life in the path of the car if it meant the rest of the family could cross the road safely!
The Gorilla Highlands website explains that gorillas are naturally protective of their young. In fact, human influence over the centuries may be one factor as to why gorillas are so keen to be aggressive when the family unit is present.
“Mothers are highly protective of their young; many have died trying to protect their offspring against poachers. Children learn so much from their mother and other troop members that it is very difficult to re-introduce young rescued gorillas into the wild [if rescued].”
Thankfully, this family was able to cross the road safely and Gordon was able to capture some truly breathtaking footage. They may need to change the age-old joke to this:
“Why did the gorilla cross the road?
To help his family to safety!”
He’s definitely a good patriarch of the troop!
See the incredibly rare moment caught on tape for yourself below – what an amazing sight caught on camera!