The boat stopped a good distance away from where Djalta and Ima resided. Damian did not want the motor’s sound to scare the two gorillas, so he decided the best way to approach them would be to exit the boat and wade in the waist-high water toward the gorillas very, very cautiously.
He crept forward, nervously approaching the two while also trying to maintain a calm attitude. The last thing he wanted to do was scare them so he had to move slowly and maintain a downward gaze, as eye contact can be seen as an aggressive move in the animal kingdom.
Slow and Steady
In addition to removing the drones and any other loud devices, they made sure to move the boat at an extremely slow and steady pace. They did not want to approach the gorillas too fast, nor did they want to make any sudden movements that might upset or surprise the gorillas.
Damian knew that gorillas do not always react to humans in a predictable manner, sometimes they are fine and remain calm as we've seen in many nature documentaries, and other times they become upset. Knowing this, the team tried to control as many variables of their own as possible in order to help ensure their safety.
Would They Remember?
As it became time to exit the boat and interact with the gorillas, Damian decided he would be the first one to approach Djalta and Ima. He had raised them, after all, and he was extremely curious as to whether or not they would remember him after all these years.
Now all he had to do was approach them. It seemed like the safest way to do so was to take the plunge and meet the gorillas face-to-face. However, it had been 14 years since he had last spent time with Djalta and Ima and there was no telling what would happen next.
Damian kept his stature low and inched nearer and nearer toward the gorillas. They seemed to be alright with his movements and did not make any signals that they felt threatened by his presence. Upon being near Damian for only a short amount of time, the gorillas began to make small, grunting noises.
Damian recognized the noises and knew that they were friendly gestures, he then mimicked the sounds to signal that he was friendly as well. He described them as something between a grunt and a gurgle. After all these years, it appeared that Djalta and Ima did in fact remember Damian!
Upon seeing how well the gorillas reacted to Damian, the team decided it would be alright for Victoria to exit the boat. At long last, Damian would finally get to introduce his friends to his wife! As Damian had, Victoria crouched low as she waded through the water toward Damian and the gorillas.
Regarding the experience Victoria commented, “I decided to gently ease my way ashore. I didn’t want to frighten them and I wanted to make sure they were relaxed.” Djalta and Ima had already taken a liking to Damian, but they were already familiar with him. With Victoria, the situation was a bit riskier.