The leading authority of endangered gorillas would have turned 82 today (Jan 16) if it wasn’t for her untimely death in 1985. Dian Fossey worked in the tangled slopes of Rwanda studying mountain gorillas and developing a habituating process which was never done before. Louis Leakey sent her to the Congo in 1966 and began her conservation work by 1967 in Rwanda. She was the closest researcher to the gorillas than ever before. Her research camp was 9,000 feet up Mount Visoke and was her home and battleground for almost twenty years. She fought bravely for the lives of the mountain gorillas and put their safety and health before hers. She is an inspiration to all and to those who help save endangered animal lives.
Of the many threats facing the endangered mountain gorilla, habitat loss is one of the most pressing. Trees in the Virunga range are often cut down for charcoal production. Here, a young mountain gorilla takes in the view from a tree branch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Like the other great apes,
gorillas can laugh, grieve, have “rich emotional lives,” develop strong
family bonds, make and use tools, and think about the past and future. They have been shown to have cultures in different areas revolving
around different methods of food preparation, and will show individual color preferences.
These incredible pictures show the moment when unlucky wildlife photographer Christophe Courteau gets punched by a rowdy silverback mountain gorilla, who has become drunk after eating too many bamboo shoots.
Christophe was taking some snaps in the Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda when Akarevuro(leader of the Kwitonda Group), a 250 kg alpha male, appears to take a dislike to being photographed. He can be seen clenching his fist before charging at the photographer who, amazingly, escaped with just a small scar on his forehead.
Our own Dr, Oliver Ryder captured rare footage of wild baby gorillas playing in Rwanda. A cute reminder of the appeal of this endangered species and the importance of protecting them. (WARNING: Cute overload)
The mountain gorillas of Rwanda have recently upended their social structure, switching from a harem of one male, several females, and lots of violence, to a multi-male and multi-female arrangement. This malleability in highly gendered social behaviors teaches a powerful lesson for evolutionary psychology. Instincts are vague and only take shape as behaviors within a social milieu.
If gorillas can transform their society, why can’t we?
Rescued as a 4-year-old from poachers in 2007, Kaboko was raised in a
gorilla orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He got
sick and died at age 9, never having the opportunity to breed and help
the mountain gorillas recover from the low numbers that threaten their
existence. But with his blood and that of six others, researchers have
now delved into the history and health status of these endangered
animals and concluded their fate may be less dire than some have feared.
RWANDA, SABYINYO : A baby mountain Gorilla, member of the Agashya family, is pictured in the Sabyinyo Mountains of Rwanda on December 27, 2014. Rwanda, well known for mountain gorillas – an endangered species found only in the border areas between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and hosted more than a million visitors between 2006-13, generating from the national parks alone $75m (£44m) in tourism revenue in that time; 85% of this is from trekkers who come to see some of the country’s 500 gorillas. AFP PHOTO / Ivan LIEMAN
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“Virunga National Park, Congo, DR. A young female mountain gorilla from the Humba family of Virunga National Park takes a break from eating to acknowledge us humans.” Photograph by Shannon Witz