5 min read

Gentle Gorilla Discovers Tiniest New Friend In The Forest

"The little bush baby was happy to play in Bobo's arms."

Every morning at a sanctuary for apes in Africa, caregivers check on all the residents — and there are a lot of them.

Because of pressures on habitats and dangers from hunting, Ape Action Africa's Mefou Primate Sanctuary cares for over 300 rescued animals.

Earlier this month, when the gorilla caregivers went to check on Bobo's group, they found something a little unusual. 

Rescued silverback gorilla at Cameroon sanctuary
Ape Action Africa

Bobo, a western lowland gorilla, arrived at the sanctuary back in 1994 as a small and vulnerable 2-year-old toddler, after his mom was killed by poachers. Over two decades later, he's a strong, huge silverback gorilla, the leader of his group at the sanctuary in Cameroon.

But even though Bobo is the dominant male of his group, he's known to be a gentle giant. And Bobo's gentleness was never more apparent when the caregiver found Bobo cradling a tiny wild bush baby he'd discovered in the forest. 

Rescued silverback gorilla playing with wild bushbaby in Cameroon
Ape Action Africa

"Our silverback gorilla Bobo made a surprising new friend this week — a wild bush baby!" Ape Action Africa wrote on Facebook. "Caregivers discovered him cradling the tiny primate during their morning checks, and were amazed to see him handling it with the utmost care."

Rescued silverback gorilla playing with wild bushbaby in Cameroon
Ape Action Africa

The bush baby had probably been living inside the gorilla’s enclosure, according to Elissa O'Sullivan, a spokesperson for Ape Action Africa. "The bush baby showed no fear of Bobo — moving around his body and spending time hopping around in an open grassy area, before choosing to return to Bobo," she told The Dodo. 

Rescued silverback gorilla playing with wild bushbaby in Cameroon
Ape Action Africa

Soon, the other gorillas became curious about Bobo's tiny new friend. 

Bobo was fair: He did allow his gorilla friends to get close enough to take a look, even if he wouldn't let them hold the bush baby themselves.

Rescued silverback gorilla playing with wild bushbaby in Cameroon
Ape Action Africa

"Bobo’s group-mates were desperately curious, particularly his favorite female Avishag, but he kept them all at a distance, making sure that no one disturbed his new friend," the sanctuary wrote. "Bush babies are usually nocturnal so it is very rare to see one, and even rarer to witness this kind of interaction. The little bush baby was happy to play in Bobo's arms, hopping off to explore the grass nearby, before returning to Bobo’s hand."

Rescued silverback gorilla playing with wild bushbaby in Cameroon
Ape Action Africa

After almost two hours, Bobo was finished playing with his new friend, and he knew just where to take the bush baby.

"When the game was over, Bobo walked purposefully off on two legs to deliver his friend safely back into the trees," the sanctuary wrote. 

You can help Ape Action Africa care for Bobo, his friends and hundreds of other rescued primates at the sanctuary by making a donation