Dian Fossey Dr. Gorillas in the Mist

ISBN 13: 9780618083602

Gorillas in the Mist

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9780618083602: Gorillas in the Mist

One of the most important books ever written about our connection to the natural world, GORILLAS IN THE MIST is the riveting account of Dian Fossey's thirteen years in a remote African rain forest with the greatest of the great apes. Fossey's extraordinary efforts to ensure the future of the rain forest and its remaining mountain gorillas are captured in her own words and in candid photographs of this fascinating endangered species. As only she could, Fossey combined her personal adventure story with groundbreaking scientific reporting in an unforgettable portrait of one of our closest primate relatives. Although Fossey's work ended tragically in her murder, GORILLAS IN THE MIST remains an invaluable testament to one of the longest-running field studies of primates and reveals her undying passion for her subject.

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Review:

In 1963, an occupational therapist from Kentucky, in uncertain health and spirits, traveled to central Africa in the quixotic hope of seeing a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. Dian Fossey had read everything she could about the reclusive and much-feared animal, and she returned from her trip convinced that most of the books were wrong.

During her seven-week stay in Africa, Fossey had a chance encounter with the famed primatologists Mary and Louis Leakey, who encouraged her to follow her dream of living among the mountain gorillas and learning their ways. In 1967 she did just that, setting up a camp on the slopes of the 14,000-foot Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda and studying four gorilla families there. Although it took them some time to accept Fossey's presence among them, she was immediately impressed by their peaceful nature and by their generous, guileless behavior--so unlike the images found in popular culture.

But, Fossey discovered, despite their peaceable way of life, the gorillas had many enemies in the form of poachers who hunted them for their hands, skins, and heads--ghastly remains sold to the tourist market. Much of Fossey's thoughtful but often rightly angry memoir Gorillas in the Mist is a well-reasoned plea for the protection of the gorillas and the suppression of the poachers' black market. That argument found a wide audience when her book was published in 1983, but Fossey's work remains unfinished: she was murdered, probably by those very poachers, in 1985, and today there are fewer than 650 mountain gorillas in the wild. To read Gorillas in the Mist is a first step for anyone concerned with their preservation, and that of other wild species everywhere. --Gregory McNamee

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