Gorillas Essay

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Up in the Rwandan mountain forests, renowned primatologist Dian Fossey studied and lived amongst the enigmatic silverback gorillas for as long as 14 years. A humble outpost was mounted in September 24, 1967. This remote outpost—also called the Karisoke Research Center—sat nestled between the volcanic Virunga Mountains. The study she would then conduct there was extensive: she diligently observed the mountain gorillas and wrote monthly reports. To gain the creatures’ trust, Fossey went to incredible lengths to stay shrouded in thick bushes and she emulated the gorillas’ behavior. Her work with the gorillas included uncovering their family dynamics, nesting habits, and eating habits among other things, and was key in transforming how the public perceived gorillas. (Naden and Blue 18). Prior to Fossey’s research, gorillas had a particularly unflattering reputation for violence and intimidation. Fossey learned, however, of the gorillas’ gentle and social nature. (Hogenboom). In fact, Fossey was able to befriend these families of gorillas she’d essentially lived with for more than a decade. Her closest friend was a young gorilla, who had no one else his age in his group. As a…show more content…
There existed stories of her torturing and humiliating the poachers she would catch with the help of paid armed guards. A commonly told story was about how she would “whip [the poachers’] balls with stinging nettles, spit on them, kick them, put on masks and curse them, [and] stuff sleeping pills down their throats.” (Shoumatoff). Fossey also donned Halloween masks, pretending to be witch that performed black magic in order to deter any poachers that came within the area. She vandalized a poacher’s home, and held the poacher’s son hostage. Her acts of violence were not restricted to poachers: farmers lost several of their cattle that wandered onto the gorillas’ habitat to Fossey’s gun. (Manger and
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