The yowilla is a kind of simian, or great ape, that is indigenous to the continent of Australia. It can be found in medium numbers on the entire continent and country except for big cities and the island of Tasmania. Its name is a blend of the Greek word, "gorillai," and the Aboriginal word, "Yowie," the name of a legendary hominid animal rumored to exist in remote parts of Australia. Unlike the Yowie, however, the yowilla has been proven to exist, and I have dedicated the last several decades to studying it and protecting it from poachers. I primarily study the Queensland yowillas, but they exist in a few other subspecies, too, like the Northern Territory yowillas, and the South Welsh yowillas. Most yowillas have brown-furred, gorilla-like bodies, but the fur of the Queensland yowilla is more of a golden brown, and while adult male gorillas have silver backs, adult male yowillas have golden-yellow backs.

Unlike inukapuns and aquasimians, the yowilla is a fruitarian animal, even though it sometimes eats insects. Its diet consists of fruits like bamboo shoots, avocados, passionfruits, and lychees, as well as various nuts, like macadamia nuts, their apparent favorite. They never eat meat of any kind. Sometimes, they will eat vegetation as well, like the gorillas of Africa do. They are usually content to sit around and eat at their leisure, because they need plenty of nourishment to keep up their strength and keep their large bodies healthy. They will, however, climb up trees sometimes to get their fruits and nuts, because their bodies are not quite as heavy as that of a gorilla.

Although they are often found sitting or walking around trees on their knuckles, yowillas are primarily grassland animals, an unusual trait for a primate. With a few exceptions, like the baboon, apes and monkeys are usually known for hanging around trees and forests. They live in small, stable family groups, again, like gorillas, and they are often on the move, not always staying in the same place for a long time. Like chimps, gorillas, and aquasimians, they have a dominant male, with a prominent physique and a golden-yellow back like the silverback of a dominant male gorilla. He sets the pace for the whole group. When he feeds, they feed. When he rests, they rest. And like all apes and monkeys, they are very vocal creatures, making a wide variety of sounds. They laugh, they chuckle, they cry, they groan, they bark similarly to a dog, they roar when alarmed, or threatened by humans or dingos, and when they want to scatter the group for their own protection. They give small hoot-series just before their gorilla-like chest-beating ritual, too. And they may lunge, or make small threat charges, as well.

Yowillas will hoot at each other, or at other animals, they will throw leaves at each other, they will beat their chests, they will dance on their feet, and they will lunge with their arms and their bodies. But afterwards, they are usually not violent. They display charge more than they fight. Evidently, like gorillas, yowillas prefer peace to violence. But they are also a little more hotheaded than the average gorilla, and if they feel that worse is coming to worst, they will attack their enemies and hit or wrestle with them until they are driven off or dead. If the enemy is dead, the yowilla in question will normally bury the dead animal that attacked it. In this respect, yowillas are distinctly different from the gorillas, which very seldom attack for real, and so I've had to take a few precautions while studying them in the Outback, even though I believe I have gained their trust.

Dingos are the worst enemy of yowillas, besides man, and they are known for attacking yowilla families on the plains of Australia fairly frequently. This is one reason for the yowilla's aggression when the group is invaded by outsiders, because the dingo has a taste for yowilla meat, and can be as strong and un-gentle about getting it as an African jackal, or an American coyote, or even a wolf. The dominant males have to be as tough as possible with an attacking dingo in order to defend the family. The yowilla does get along better, however, with many of the other indigenous animals of Australia. Most marsupials live in peace with these great apes, including the kangaroo and the wombat. Emus usually leave yowillas alone, too, and while cassowaries occasionally give some yowillas a sharp, crippling kick if they feel intimidated by the simian's behavior, they are not a major threat, either.

Sadly, poachers and zoo animal catchers continue to relentlessly capture and/or kill these inoffensive creatures for very shoddy ends. Yowillas, despite their natural aggression toward intruders on their territory, are almost as harmless as gorillas, and they are much more beautiful than many people, especially some religious people, like to think apes are. Believe me, I know what it's like to be accepted by a yowilla. A big male that I named Archie has expressed interest in me quite implicitly. Yowillas are extraordinary beasts, and they are also so much like man that I, too, support the Great Ape Project. The world needs to pay more attention to the good things about these lovely animal people.

Yours etc.,

Dr. Jenny Starbuck

Primatologist, conservationist, and author