By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
A kind of man: Ambam has become an internet hit after teaching himself to swagger like a human
Striding purposefully across the ape enclosure, he looks like a portly – and slightly grumpy – commuter in a hurry to catch a train.
While most gorillas are happy enough walking around on all fours, Ambam the silverback prefers a more human form of ambulation.
To the amusement of his keepers and fascinated onlookers, the agile ape has mastered the tricky art of walking upright on his hind legs for long distances.
The feat has placed Ambam, a Western lowland gorilla at Port Lympne wild animal park in Kent, on the brink of international stardom.
An 18-second piece of footage showing the 21-year-old male walking like a man has become the latest YouTube sensation, viewed by 150,000 people over the last few days.
Gorillas usually prefer to get around by ‘knuckle walking’ – using the padded backs of their front hands to support their huge weights as they move around the floors of forests or zoo enclosures.
High and mighty: Ambam the gorilla stands up and strolls off...He sets off across his enclosure with purpose
However, they will also stand on two legs to reach branches or get a better view, and can walk upright, swinging their arms parallel to their opposite legs to counterbalance their weight.
But few gorillas are as good at it as Ambam. Keeper Ingrid Naisby, who has worked with him for 16 years, said: ‘It’s quite unusual in gorillas but Ambam does it quite often and he can balance very well. Other gorillas do it occasionally, but he will do it for a bit of a distance.
Long arms swinging he really gets into his stride...and a backward glance to see if anyone's following him
‘He’s always liked to stand up. It’s about getting his balance right and he’s well practised. He has perfected it.’ Ambam was born at Port Lympne’s sister park, Howletts, in 1990. He was moved to Port Lympne aged seven and is now the park’s largest gorilla at an impressive 34 stone. Standing upright, he is an impressive 6ft tall.
The footage of him was taken by animal researcher Johanna Watson while she was working for a project on great ape locomotion.
Hulk: Ambam is the park's biggest gorilla, weiging in at 220kg
Saturday, February 26, 2011
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER