Twin Mountain Gorillas Give Hope to Endangered Species

April 7, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. conservationist 
[kon-ser-VEY-shuh-nist] (n.) – a person who works to protect and preserve plants, animals and natural resources
Example: The conservationist shows an unusual love for nature and animals.
2. caress [kuh-RES] (v.) – to touch or stroke lightly or gently
Example: Studies revealed that some animals caress their partners to show affection.

3. nurse [nurs] (v.) – to breastfeed or give milk to a baby
Example: Mothers should nurse their babies because breast milk is healthier than milk formulas.

4. snare [snair] (n.) – a kind of trap used to catch animals, usually birds
Example: The poor animal eventually died after getting caught in the hunter’s snare.

5. extinct [ik-STINGKT] (n.) – wiped out or no longer present
Example: The population of the Hokuriku salamander is decreasing and is in great danger of being extinct.

Read the text below.

The birth of a twin gorilla has given conservationists a new reason to be excited. Isango and Isangano, whose names respectively mean ‘Appointment’ and 'Crossroad,' were born in Rwanda in 2011.

Mountain gorillas, which give birth only every four or five years, rarely produce twins. In fact, only five twins are recorded in Rwanda in 40 years. Isango and Isangano, twins of a mountain gorilla named Kabatwa, are the fifth.

Baby gorillas get a lot of affection from their moms. From the baby’s birth until age three to four months, moms spend hours caressing, touching and kissing their babies. Mothers also nurse their babies until the age of two and sleep with them until the age of three.

Mountain gorillas, which have 30 to 35-year life span, live in groups with 11 to 30 members. Other members of the group, especially the male leader, also protect baby gorillas from any harm.

David Hewitt of the Gorilla Organization, a charity in the UK, said that for the first few months, baby gorillas are always under the watchful eyes of their mom. But as soon as the babies become active and start exploring the forest, they can be in great danger because of the snares that hunters put out. 

Mountain gorillas are now at risk of being extinct. Bush meat hunting and forest destruction due to farming and gathering of firewood also threaten the gorillas’ chances to survive. To date, only less than 900 mountain gorillas are living in the wild.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         How would you describe the kind of relationship a mother gorilla has with her babies?
·         Do you think mountain gorillas will overcome extinction? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How do you think people can help conserve wildlife?
·         Why is it important to protect and conserve animals in the wild?


April 7, 2013