Nature: The Gorilla King

Nature: The Gorilla King

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What external dynamics or internal traits would prompt a 400-pound Silverback gorilla with a tortured familial history to relinquish the past and rise above his trauma, courageously leading a pack of 25 other primates for the duration of his lifetime? That’s the question posed by this documentary, which originally aired as an episode of the Nature series on PBS. The subject in question is Titus, who witnessed the brutal slaughter of his father at age 4, the murder of his baby sister not long after, and abandonment by another sister and his mother soon after that. Titus intrigued a number of primatologists and researchers, notably the late Dian Fossey and Kelly Stewart, for his ability to lead one of the most triumphant and issue-free lives imaginable, despite his past. This program explores the history and day-to-day world of Titus and discusses possible reasons for his extraordinary adaptive ability. It combines on-location footage of Silverback gorillas, archival footage of Titus as an infant, and on-camera commentary by primate researchers who discuss Titus’s status and role as a leader of other gorillas.

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