Requiem for a Hero

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Requiem for a Hero

The gorilla, villain of so many movies, books, and TV shows, is in reality a very gentle creature. The antics it puts on when threatened—howling, jumping up and down, beating on its chest—are mainly bluff. When it charges, just don't run away; it will stop, turn around, and walk away. This is incredible, considering how powerful a full—grown male gorilla can actually be.

Only when the male gorilla feels his family is threatened will he become the aggressor. Then he will exhibit great courage. Recently a group of U.S. scientists were studying a 14—member family of mountain gorillas. The animals were suddenly attacked by poachers unaware of the presence of the scientists. One huge male gorilla, as the largest in the group, placed himself between his fleeing family and the attackers, who just did not expect this type of behavior. The battle that followed was furious, but the gorilla managed to stave off the attackers while the family escaped. During the heat of the fight he never once tried to escape. Unfortunately he took five spear wounds during the fight and did not survive.

The poachers spotted the Americans after the gorilla was killed. They promptly fled, leaving behind the carcass they had tried so hard to poach. The scientists, moved by such courage and devotion to family, carried the dead body back to their camp. Considering the gorilla weighed several hundred pounds this was not done without difficulty. They wanted to honor the fallen animal, and so they gave him a formal burial.

From the book: 
Petrified Lightning