He stopped for a second to listen closely. There was something in the bushes. Whatever it was, it must’ve been something huge. A branch suddenly snapped, which made him turn around to see if he could spot what was making those sounds. That’s when he saw it. A massive black shape, hiding in the foliage. It had quite a pungent smell to it. He knew he should’ve made a run for it, but if he did, the beast would surely get him in a matter of seconds.
Jean Baptiste Bamina knew all about the dangers of the deep African forests, as he worked as a tourist guide. Given the nature of his job, he’d exposed himself to dangerous beasts in the past. He’d seen in all, really. From deadly green mambas who were waiting to inject their venom on an unsuspecting human, to silent leopards who were lurking silently, ready to catch their prey. But he never realized that on that particular day, his body and mind would be put to the ultimate test.
On that particular day, Bamina was guiding a group of tourists into the forest, just like he’d done a million times before. Everyone was excited to spot the local wildlife, but in order to do so, they had to withstand several hours of trekking through tangled vines. In the beginning, they were truly awe-struck by the wonderful green scenery and the rugged sounds of the forest. But the tourists were starting to get bored. Bamina knew he had to find something that would surprise them to their very core.
The thick forest canopy was making it harder and harder to see the sunlight. The weather was so humid on that particular day, that the air was ridiculously thick. Bamina felt like the sweat clung to his body like a weight. They were surrounded by mosquitoes too, and they were having a feast by now. Their annoying whine was so loud, that it was starting to drown out the voices of the people on his tour. Bamina felt really uncomfortable at that moment, which is why he didn’t realize that they were being watched.
There was something massive hiding in the forest, and it was staring directly at the clueless group of tourists. After all, this was its domain, and whenever humans entered it, they brought nothing but destruction, fire, violence, and death. Suddenly, its blood started to run hot, as Bamina’s clothes reeked of gunpowder. It was truly a primal reaction. He kept staring at the tourists in silence until he started to move.
The tourists had been trekking for hours through muddy areas and wet leaves, and now they hadn’t been able to spot any wildlife. They were visibly upset. Then, Bamina made an unexpected halt when they all reached a clearing. Birds weren’t chirping, and cicadas went quiet all of a sudden. Bamina and the tourists realized that suddenly, the forest was awfully quiet. That’s when they managed to spot it.
They noticed a strangely placed sapling. It was lying on the ground in a particularly weird angle, but Bamina quickly realized that a massively strong creature must’ve snapped it as if it was nothing more than a matchstick. He took it as a warning sign, as he had been trained to spot these types of things. Whatever had snapped the sapling, he realized it was a displaying of violence, so he knew he had to stay alert. The animal must’ve made its way through these parts, so he stayed cautious and changed direction. There was something dangerous lurking round the corner.
Bamina stayed quiet, and made the unsuspecting tourists change directions towards a path that led them out of the deep shade. He needed to get them towards a dirt road, where everyone would be able to rest for a while, but most importantly, where they’d be far away from the animal. The clueless group stood by, chatting and drinking water, when suddenly, they saw Bamina freeze entirely. He quickly and quietly asked everyone to stay silent. Then they heard it.
Suddenly, everyone froze when they heard a deep and hollow animal cry that was coming from the far side of the road. The leaves started to move, and they could hear the branches snapping as the creature started to barrel towards them. The bushes were swaying hard, and that’s when they finally saw it. A big black and muscular mass had emerged. Now they could appreciate its full height, and they realized its deep black eyes were fixed on Bamina.
The impressive beast suddenly dropped to the ground, landing on all fours. It rushed at full speed towards the unsuspected tourists. But for some reason, the colossal creature hesitated for a second when it made it to the edge of the far side of the road. It stood still for a moment. Everyone managed to get a clear view of this magnificent beast. They suddenly realized that they were in the presence of a giant male silverback gorilla, a true native to Rwanda’s forests. But these creatures were nothing like those adorable mountain gorillas conservationist Diane Fossey used to study. Oh no. These beasts were known for being aggressive. Everyone stood still while it stared at them. Who would be the first one to move now?
The group stayed there, frozen and confused, when they suddenly spotted a truck. It was starting to roll around the corner. It was bouncing a stack of white bags in the back, and they moved around, swaying around every time they hit a bump. Finally, something was about to happen.
The gigantic gorilla quickly switched from angry, to fearful. Everyone could see it was clearly scared. The approaching truck was packed with people, so the gorilla realized it was a losing battle. Bamina was extremely pale at this point, as he had never been in a situation as dangerous as this one. The creature could’ve shred them to pieces if he wanted to. He felt truly foolish when he realized he had put everyone in danger by thinking he was untouchable. He dropped to the floor, shaking in terror. That’s when a group of gorillas made their way out of the forest.
The leader of the group made its way to the middle of the road, and he just stood there, completely determined to stay there. Slowly, the other gorillas started to cross the road, walking by their leader, as he guarded the road. There were babies hugging the backs of their mothers, and a few males. The truck respectfully stood at a safe distance to let them cross the road. Then, it finally hit them!
The group of tourists were simply dumbfounded at what they were witnessing. The gorillas walked passed them and disappeared into the deep embrace of the bushes. The big male wasn’t really looking to cause any trouble. He was only protecting his family, making sure they’d be able to cross the road safely, and be on his way.
Gorillas are one of the rarest and most endangered species in the world, and they’ve been slowly losing their habit. As their environment shrinks, they’re forced to venture out, so dangerous encounters are becoming more and more common these days. Clearly, these animals are not the ones to blame. The effects of humankind are leaving a mark, and they can even be found in the deepest forests across the world. Let’s just hope that somehow, humans and Mother Nature are able to find a way to coexist before we end up losing these magnificent creatures forever.