In many ways gorillas are the most spectacular of all wild animals. They are enormous, mysterious and secretive, they have uncanny resemblances to ourselves and their aggressive displays can be both noisy and terrifying.
Alan Goodall, a biologist, had the good fortune to conduct the first study to compare two populations of gorillas that have become habituated to man.
For eight months he lived in a camp among the Virunga volcanoes of Rwanda, where Dian Fossey had just started her pioneer studies. It was here that he caught his first sight of the rare mountain gorillas and experienced their nerve-shattering charges. His observations of these superb animals, their social habits and their often-tragic interactions with the people who surround them make absorbing reading.
However, perhaps Alan’s most dramatic experiences, and the ones which contribute a new insight to these mountain giants and their relationship with man, were in Zaire (now Congo). During the troubles that followed independence from Belgium in the 1960’s, one time hunter Adrien Deschryver, fought to preserve the gorillas of Kahuzi-Biega and won acceptance by the government for the reserve he had established. The Zaire government finally upgraded the status to a national park in 1970.
Over several years Deschryver had partially habituated two families of gorillas to observation and close contact with human beings. This habituation process made possible the author's almost daily study of one of those families - the one led by the silverback (named Casimir by Deschryver) who was later to become world famous in Anglia Television's film ‘Gorilla’
This book builds an enthralling picture of gorillas in their forest home: how they find their food and what they eat, how they behave with each other, how populations differ in habit and, above all, how they are now dependent upon, and yet threatened, by man.
This book was first published by Wm. Collins in 1979. It has been completely re-edited for this electronic version in 2012 - with minor corrections and several additions made in the light of subsequent events during the following three decades.
An Epilogue is also now included to explain these.
Two videos and many photos have been added for this multimedia version.