The Year of the Gorilla Hardcover – 1 Jan 1965
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"Whether the author is tracking gorillas, slipping past elephant herds on narrow jungle paths, avoiding poachers' deadfalls, or routing Watusi invaders, this is an exciting book. Although Schaller feels that this is 'not an adventure book,' few readers will be able to agree." - Irven DeVore, Science "In the course of his fresh, bright book, Schaller does not so much argue for his biological ecumenism as - talking, walking, doing, going, describing - he exemplifies it." - Naomi Bliven, New Yorker" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
George B. Schaller is a senior conservationist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and vice president of Panthera, a foundation devoted to the conservation of wild cats. He is the author of many books, including The Mountain Gorilla and The Last Panda, both published by the University of Chicago Press. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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In 1959, George and Kay go to the mountainous borders of Eastern Congo to observe the gorillas for many months. They give names to individual gorillas and study their social life, nest-building, eating, mating, care of children, emotional tantrums, travel and their attitudes to humans. During this study, George climbs all the 8 VIRUNGA Volcanoes. This idea of studying the gorillas was put to George in 1957. In 1625, the 1st description of gorilla in West Africa was written by Andrew Bartell, but ignored. In 1846, the discovery of gorilla was made by Wilson and Savage on GABON River. In 1856, Du Chaillu described gorilla charge and he shot him in West Africa. In 1902, Von Beringe climbed Mt SABINIO, one of the Virunga Volcano and shot 2 apes. Many more gorillas were slaughtered, until in 1925, ALBERT NP was formed around the Volcanoes.
On 1.2.1959, George and Kay left New York for 2 years expedition to study the Mountain Gorilla, arriving at RUMANGADO on 14th Feb. On 6th march, with few porters, they climb into the forest, arriving in the saddle between Mt MIKENO and MT KARISIMBI. Slowly George reaches the summit of Mt Karisimbi and its shallow crater. In the forest, he had seen the nest of gorilla and heard the 'pok-pok-pok' sound, musty sweet odour and explosive roar 'uuua-uuua'. Then he sees the gorillas, some sitting on the ground, others in the trees. He also sees a large 'silver-back' and they watch each-other. Next day, he sees some elephants and 22 gorillas.
The pleasing way to approach the Virunga Volcanoes, is from the North, through Kigesic district of Uganda. The Travellers rest Hotel at KISORO, became George and Kay's second home (10,000ft). The gorilla family were eating upto 29 different plants. George climbs Mt MUHAVIRA (the guide- 13,540ft) 3 times. In 1932, impenetrable rain forest was made into a Reserve. George sees and observes another family of gorillas. Gorillas hate water streams. They fed in lush valleys and moved to upper slops and ridges for sleeping. He never saw chimpanzees along side the gorillas. They travel north to RWINDI Game plains of Albert Park. At BENI, they see the Mountains of the Moon (Ruenjura- the place of rains) and George climbs upto 13,000ft to 'CAMPI-YA-CHUPA'. On the north end of Lake Edward, he visits ISHANGO, one of the loveliest spots in Africa and enjoys the views of SEMLIKI River and all the varied wildlife.
Their next task was to climb Mt TSHIABARIMU(10,000ft). They move south to BUKAVU along the RUZIZI River to find the gorilla in the highland forests. Gorilla will not attack a person who stands his ground. For the next month, George moved amongst the gorillas, studying them. He slept near them at night on Mt Mikeno. He had already observed the gorillas in the Zoos. The other animals frequently seen around here were the red forest duiker and the golden monkeys. It was cold, wet, foggy and lonely life, but George and Kay loved their mountain home. On 13.3.1959, George climbs the rocky Mt Mikeno to the barren top. Respiratory infections are the principal causes of death in the gorillas. He never saw gorillas, drink in the wild. The Silverback is gentle, tolerant, and females and youngsters enjoy his company. Gorillas life consists of sleeping, feeding and more sleeping. The beating of the chest is the climax of a complex series of actions.
George and Kay came down the mountains in Feb 1960, to find Africans wanting 'UHURU' -Freedom from Belgium. They hurried towards Uganda. Leaving Kay, George goes back to climb the Volcanoes and see the plight of the gorillas. But on 24.9.1960, he leaves Congo. 3 years later, on 11.8.1963, George returns briefly to take colour pictures of the gorillas.
Some of George Schaller's other books are:-
(1) The Deer and the Tiger, 1967
(2) The Serengeti Lion, 1972
(3) Serengeti- Kingdom of Predators, 1973
(4) Golden Shadows, Flying Hooves, 1973
(5) Elephant, Days and Nights, 1996
(6) Tibet's Hidden Wilderness, 1998
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this well researched book.
must read for the one looking for info on Primates and understanding human
particularly too describe the surrounding and politics a little at that time
a time when not many people would go there, some photos too showing trees very high up in the mountains
well, for me it was an important read on my path to health
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
From the riveting first encounter with a family of gorillas through the identification of several distinct groups, their daily routine is revealed. The gentleness that Schaller found dispelled many long held myths about Gorilla behavior.
Beyond the gorillas, this is also the complete story of a region, its people and other flora and fauna. The issues of preservation of these animals and their habitat are much the same as those faced today.
This is the documentation of an important pioneering work that paved the way for Fossey and other researchers who would follow. Illustrated with photos and maps, it is a compelling read from cover to cover.
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