By Karen LaceyThe Guardian’s Australian business editorHUGGY BEAR PUPPET GROUNDHUGGED by a black bear paw print, a gorilla’s lion’s paw print and a gorilla paw tattoo, a young man with a gorilla tattoo was at home in the Northern Territory when he found himself at the centre of a social media storm.
It was December 8, 2017, and Andrew “Gug” Hughes was sitting in his backyard at his home in Newbridge, north-west of Darwin, enjoying a relaxing day with his wife and two dogs.
Mr Hughes, a 21-year-old student studying in a regional university in Darwin, had posted pictures of himself on Instagram and Facebook of him and his friends holding lion paw prints and gorilla paw tattoos.
“I have a gorilla on my arm, a lion on my leg, and a bear on my neck, and I am doing a gorilla impression,” he wrote in one post.
“That’s not an exaggeration.”
On Friday, Mr Hughes posted a video of himself with a tattoo of a gorilla.
“A gorilla on your neck,” he said in the video, which was shared more than 300 times and viewed more than 20,000 times.
“You’ve got a gorilla in your neck, you’ve got your gorilla paw printed on your chest, your gorilla’s on your arm, you have your gorilla on a bear,” he added.
“And the gorilla’s tattoo is the black bear.”‘
He’s really scared’Mr Hughes said the gorilla tattoo he had posted was one of the many that had been posted on his social media accounts and was not in any way a joke.
“He’s just really scared.
He doesn’t like being touched, he doesn’t want to touch anything,” he told the ABC.”
When I was first learning about it, I said, ‘Oh yeah, this is quite scary, this really is a gorilla,’ and it was a real shock.”
Mr Hughes posted his reaction on his Instagram account on Monday.
“My first reaction when I saw it was just to freak out, and that was the first time I really saw the picture,” he recalled.
“It was like, ‘Wow, this actually looks real’.”‘
I’d rather not see the gorilla’Mr Mr Hughes said he had been worried about the gorilla, because he had a history of getting “poked” by bears.
“There are definitely some people that I’ve been scared by in the bush before,” he explained.
“But it’s been the same over the years, so I’ve always thought it was probably a bit of a joke and not a threat to anybody.”
Mr Harris, Mr Kowalakul, and Mr Hughes are all students at the Northern State University, in Darwin.
Mr Kowaltakul is a biology and zoology student and Mr Harris a computer science and computer engineering student.
Mr Harris said he was shocked to see the artwork, which he had already been trying to avoid.
“To see something like that in your backyard, it’s just a shock.
It’s just not a thing I’d want to see,” he admitted.”
Gug is a bit nervous because he’s very shy, he’s always afraid of people.
He just likes to be alone.”
Mr Kowell and Mr Kowaalakuli, who are both students at Darwin’s Northern State university, have also been asked to leave their homes.
“We are all really scared of this gorilla, it is a real threat, and it scares us,” Mr Kowell said.
“If you get a gorilla, you should know your own boundaries, and if you get into a situation where you’ve accidentally injured or killed someone, you need to know your rights.”
Mr Lang, a 23-year old veterinary student, was visiting his parents’ house in Newhaven when he saw a gorilla with a lion tattoo.
“All the other students had the same thing, they were scared of the gorilla,” he described.
“They were scared to go to the bush or to go into the bush at all, because they don’t know where the gorilla might be, and they don’ t want to risk getting bitten by a gorilla.”
“It’s pretty ridiculous, but it’s funny.”
He said he found the gorilla tattoos amusing.
“Because they’re obviously there to scare people,” he remarked.
“This is the last one that I’m actually really excited about.”
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