Gorilla army parties in Texas capital

Jan. 23, 2011 at 1:48 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Organizers of a Texas charity run say the number of runners dressed as mountain gorillas was about equal to the population of actual gorillas left in the wild.

Nearly 700 people paid $100 for a sort-of-lifelike gorilla suit and hit the streets Saturday for the first annual Austin Gorilla Run, a benefit or the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.

By happy coincidence, 700 is the number of mountain gorillas known to be jogging around the jungles of Africa. Not bad for a species that was down to about 250 in 1987.

But was the innate dignity of the great ape reflected among the assembled Texans? Maybe not, but they certainly had a lot more fun, participants said.

"There's no way you can be miserable when there's a hundred gorillas around you," contestant Laura Patton told The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman.

The newspaper said Sunday the field included gorillas accessorized with football jerseys, boxer shorts and grass skirts. When the starter's gun went off, they all gave chase to a convertible pace car with a bunch of bananas tied to a pole in the back seat.

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