Gorilla baby and father have an adorable tickle fest during playtime

Silverback gorillas are the dominant males in a colony and they appear fearsome and serious. Weighing in at over 200 kg (440lbs) they are formidable animals with impressive power. Yet, they have a soft side too, as we see in this video. Charles is a 46 year old male who came to the Toronto zoo in 1974 as an orphan. He has sired 10 surviving offspring, including this playful little one. As Charles sat and looked out over the climbing structure where the females in the colony were eating and wandering, his baby came up and slapped him playfully on the back. With touching tenderness, Charles took the youngster by the arm and pulled him around for a quick cuddle and then a brief tickle. Pinning the baby gently to the net, he prodded the little one's ribs and seemed to be trying to evoke a little giggle. He then poked and prodded a little more, allowing the baby to climb on him and all around him. It would not have been surprising to see the large male pushing the baby aside, wanting peace and quiet, but the silverback gorilla seems to be enjoying the social time and the playful interaction almost as much as his child. When we see such gentle restraint and careful play, we cannot deny that these are animals with impressive intellect and heart warming compassion and awareness of the needs of other gorillas in the their family. They are a lot like we are, and they deserve the same respect and compassion from us. Yet, these gorillas are critically endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, and other human influence. To lose such magnificent animals forever would be beyond tragic.