In the Kingdom of Gorillas

In the Kingdom of Gorillas

Fragile Species in a Dangerous Land

When Bill Weber and Amy Vedder arrived in Rwanda to study mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey, the gorilla population was teetering toward extinction. Poaching was rampant, but it was loss of habitat that most endangered the gorillas. Weber and Vedder realized that the gorillas were doomed unless something was done to save their forest home. Over Fossey's objections, they helped found the Mountain Gorilla Project, which would inform Rwandans about the gorillas and the importance of conservation, while at the same time establishing an ecotourism project -- one of the first anywhere in a rainforest -- to bring desperately needed revenue to Rwanda. In the Kingdom of Gorillas introduces readers to entire families of gorillas, from powerful silverback patriarchs to helpless newborn infants. Weber and Vedder take us with them as they slog through the rain-soaked mountain forests, observing the gorillas at rest and at play. Today the population of mountain gorillas is the highest it has been since the 1960s, and there is new hope for the species' fragile future even as the people of Rwanda strive to overcome ethnic and political differences.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743200073 | 
  • December 2002
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The View from Bukavu

Go ahead. Sit next to him. Adrien deSchryver's suggestion was part tease, part dare. Amy hesitated, then smiled as she began to crawl toward Casimir, a massive silverback scowling at us from beneath a tree about thirty feet away. Surprised by her eager response, deSchryver grabbed Amy by the belt and pulled her back to his side. For the next thirty minutes, we watched Casimir and his family of gorillas from a respectful distance of fifteen to twenty yards. Thick bamboo limited our views to isolated body parts. The gorillas tolerated our presence, but several stayed completely out of sight and all were... see more

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