This amazing photo was taken by wildlife photographer Christophe Courteau, 46.

This amazing photo was taken by wildlife photographer Christophe Courteau, 46. Caters / Christophe Courteau

So that is Akarevuro the drunk gorilla in the picture above.


Courteau told Caters Akarevuro had been eating bamboo stems, and they’d fermented in his stomach, thus getting him hammered. He told Caters that the gorillas are particularly “mad” about bamboo roots and stems at this time of year.

Courteau was photographing the Kwitonda Group of silverbacks inin Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, when the alpha male decided to charge him. He told Caters:

All the members of this family were quite excited on this day, probably due to the consumption of the bamboo stems, which cause the gorillas to become extremely drunk and excitable.

Suddenly, Akarevuro, who was stood close to us, just ran at me, but I could not move away as I was taking photos on my knees. In less than a second, he was on me, and strongly hit me like a rugby player.

With the shock, I felt all his power and weight on my body. A silverback gorilla like him weights around 250kg, so imagine a 250kg rugby player running straight towards you. Normally, they timidly avoid visitors when they move close, but not this time, Akarevuro was too excited and drunk. He did not care about me, and pushed me out the way with his left hand like if I was not there.

Then he dashed through the vegetation to chase away a black back male behind us who looked to be interested in one of Akarevuro’s females.

Courteau says that mountain gorillas are usually quite placid and only attack strangers when they feel threatened or scared – or drunk.

He told Caters:

I was not seriously injured in the altercation; I just got a souvenir scar on my forehead. But I will remember this instant all my life long, it was like being hit by a train.