One would be wondering what emotional intelligence is? In simple terms, emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships sensibly and sympathetically.
Have you lived with an animal before? If so, do animals experience emotions? Of course, they do! We have lived in some environments together with animals, be it minute, an hour, a day, weeks, months or years. It could have been a pet, or you could have had it on your Uganda safari, Rwanda safari, Congo safari, Kenya safari, Tanzania safari or any other country outside the mentioned. It could have been a Uganda wildlife safari, Rwanda wildlife safari, Tanzania wildlife safari, Congo wildlife safari, Kenya wildlife safari, more so during your game drive in the park.
Those that have encountered animals for some time have countless stories to tell about the animals they have lived. I have listened to several stories of people with dogs, cats especially when it comes joy or grief.
Emotional stories about gorillas
Within the world of primatologists and researchers, primate empathy has been a matter of discussion for years. These new findings suggest a level of empathy and social welfare amongst primates never before studied.
At several occasions, we have had travellers and researchers interested in Africa safaris to different destinations. Many visit Uganda, or undertake a Rwanda tour, Kenya tour, Tanzania tour, Congo tour, or visit any other different destination of their choice. Travellers and researchers that have booked Uganda gorilla safaris, Rwanda gorilla tours or Congo gorilla tours have had a very close encounter with the gorillas for at least one good hour despite the time taken to reach them in their natural habitat ranging from 2-8 hours depending on their location. Others have spent the whole day with gorillas during gorilla habituation safaris in Uganda and Congo.
Gorillas perform ritualistic ceremonies
In a heartbreaking series of events, researchers have observed several emotions of gorillas. Gorillas are very intelligent; the loss of a family member can affect them greatly. This kind of emotional awareness is just like that of humans. They partake ritualistic behaviours for example when a member of their family dies or is killed, it’s a great tragedy for the whole family. They all mourn for days and always come back to the place of death day after day. This kind of ritual is similar to a human visiting a gravesite of a loved one. They sometimes have this long lost call they do when somebody is lost in the forest and they want them to come back. They will all sit there over the body and see them ask them to come back, and of course, they can’t.
During a brief talk with one of the researchers, he told us a story about a gorilla that lost its mother. He reported and said, emotionally, it withdrew from his group, became sluggish, stopped feeding, its immune system weakened, he fell sick until it finally died. He further said “The last time I saw this gorilla alive, he had sunken eyes, grown thin and extremely depressed. He often huddled in the vegetation close to where his mother died. The last short journey he made was touching, he paused to rest every few feet, as he moved to the place where the mother had died. He stayed there for several hours until he struggled on a little further, then curled up and never moved again.”
There was also an 11-year-old gorilla that was observed by travellers who had undertaken a gorilla safari in Uganda, grieving the loss of her infant. One of our clients that tracked that guerrilla group said, “I have never seen of an animal in distress.” He was touched by the way this animal felt.
Gorillas are primitive engineers
One of the researchers in Rwanda says gorillas have turned into primitive engineers because they have taught themselves to dismantle poaching traps. He stated, “One of the most extraordinary things that have just happened is that very young gorillas, that are just four years old, have started to take apart traps and snares so that poachers can’t catch gorillas.” He finds an extraordinary emotional depth and capacity for empathy for their fellow primates. These gorillas sprang into action after the same snare killed an elderly gorilla.
Scientists that have for long studied these gorillas, have never seen this kind of activity in gorillas at such a young age. This sighting suggests not only unexpected reasoning skill but also a level of empathy for other animals. These gorillas could choose to simply avoid the snare grounds, but they instead decided to work together to disable them so that other gorillas and animals are not hurt and killed.
Gorillas use different tools
Gorillas are also known for teaching their young how to use different tools, especially when picking food to feed on when building their nets and many more.
Tales about Koko the linguist gorilla
Have you heard stories about Koko the linguistic gorilla? Research on primate empathy was kick-started in the 1970s with Koko, a gorilla that had become famous worldwide. This knew over 1,000 words of American Sign Language.
At first, the scientific community was sceptical, not knowing if Koko was actually signing what she was thinking or if she was being forced by her trainer, Penny Patterson. After some time and research, it was generally accepted that the words Koko was signing were, in fact, her own thoughts and feelings with no push towards in any particular direction from Patterson. Since then, people got much more convinced by its ability to communicate and this was accepted by the scientific community
The peak of research with Koko came when Patterson decided to give her a pet kitten. Koko cared for the kitten, which she named ‘All Ball’, like a human would: petting it, being gentle around it, and scolding it when it bit her. Gorillas in the wild have been seen exhibiting similar maternal actions as humans.
One day All Ball went out to play and got hit by a car. When Koko found out that her kitten died, she mourned for days, often crying. Gorillas cannot shed tears, however, she would do this by letting out sad wails.
About Gorilla mothers
Researchers at the Free University of Berlin recently observed gorilla mothers for about 4 months and realized that gorillas employ the strategy of infant specific communication. They watched over these gorillas all the time and they realized that just like mothers’ act sometimes, gorilla mothers use a non-verbal ‘baby talk’ when addressing their young ones.
Let’s get to the surface of their true abilities by undertaking a Uganda gorilla safari tour, a Rwanda gorilla safari tour, or a Congo gorilla safari tour so you have chance to get close to the primates and understand some of their emotional abilities.
Rwanda gorilla safari packages
1 Day Rwanda gorilla safari
2 Days Rwanda gorilla trekking tour
3 Days Rwanda gorilla safari
4 Days Rwanda Gorilla & wildlife safari
5 Days Rwanda Gorilla & wildlife safari
6 Days Rwanda gorilla safari tour
8 Days Uganda Rwanda gorilla trekking safari
9 days Uganda Rwanda gorilla, chimps & wildlife safari
Uganda Gorilla safari packages
3 Days Uganda gorilla trekking safari
4 Days Uganda gorilla trekking tour
5 Days Uganda Gorilla & wildlife safari
6 Days Uganda gorilla & chimpanzee trekking safari tour
9 Days Uganda gorilla, chimps & wildlife safari
10 Days Uganda gorilla & chimps tour
12 Days Uganda gorilla tour
Congo gorilla safari packages
2 Days Congo gorilla safari to Virunga National Park
3 Days Congo gorilla safari
3 Days Lowland gorilla trekking safari
4 Days Congo gorilla safari & Nyiragongo hike
5 Days Congo gorilla safari
6 Days Congo gorilla & hiking safari
7 Days Congo wildlife safari