I've never seen Gorillas in the Mist nor have I ever read a biography of Dian Fossey. Everything I know about her is from bits and pieces of information I've gleaned from articles about mountain gorillas and from my membership in the organization Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Based on that information though, I am a great admirer of her work and the legacy she has left behind.
Things are tough for the mountain gorillas. Despite the protection of park rangers, six were just lost. Not only are they faced with poaching, but the Virunga National Forest, where they live, lies in parts of Uganda, Congo, and Rwanda. These places have been ravaged by civil war and military patrols. Many war refugees found their way into the forest and began burning trees for wood, decimating habitat. Here's an article that provides a great history of recent challenges.
Although I am a big fan of all primates, mountain gorillas are especially beautiful to me. I'm not sure if it's because I feel a kinship to them or if it's because their babies are just darn cute. There are only 700 left in the world with about half in Virunga.
There are naysayers who complain about why people like Dian Fossey worry about the mountain gorillas when so many people are dying and suffering in that region. Again, this is an example of how animal life is a reflection of human life. When these gorillas are safe and secure, it is because the region is safe and secure. When they are threatened, it is usually because humans are suffering too.
Their threatened existence is a tragedy for both species.
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