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4.9 out of 5 stars
Mountain Gorilla [DVD]
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on 2 April 2017
My husband lovely Gorillas
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on 29 December 2011
This is one of the best recordings of the life of an endangered species I have come across in recent years, Not only does it provide an insight into the habitat and lifestyle of the mountain gorilla it shows the absolute dedication of the researchers/conservationists/rangers etc,who care for the species.Thanks to these people and their hard work we have a better understanding of these rare animals together with some wonderful photography of them.Highly recommended.
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on 2 November 2013
Impressive Project! An exhaustive daily battle against poaching, trap and disease.
Our close 'Relatives' are strongly protected by a talented and very well equipped 'Army' of Rangers and Vets, a 'Unit' of nonfatigable People working for this noble cause.
Pity that a great number of Humans in Africa don't have access to this level of Healthcare and Dedication...

This important Documentary shows unforgetable moments of the Life of three of the several Gorilla Families, located in the Mountains of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda, and the efforts of all those who work behind and outside the Gates of this formidable Compound.

In many ways these amazing Creatures are very similar to Us! Inteligence, Behavior, Expressivity as joy, grieve, anger and sexual desire...
A young Female in estrous ( short period of fertility ), looking directly in the eye of a Dominant Silverback asking for a mate! Something I've never seen before!
Concerning Parenthood among great Apes, Gorilla wins the prize. The Dominant Males Silverback take good care of their young in Family Groups, assuming the roles of Paternity in Mothers absence never abandoning their Infants.
They can even adopt orphans protecting them until Death.
We can see the strategy of a 17 year old Silverback fighting his own Father of 35 year old, for the Dominance of the Group...and so on...

Very very interesting!...

Tourism is questionable because Gorilla is very sensitive to Human disease. Though it means the guarantee of the Species' Survival and at the same time Work and Local Living Conditions for surrouding People.

Everything was said about the 3 Episodes in other reviews. I will not repeat it.

Extremely beautiful aerial views of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda Rainforests, Farmlands and Virunga Volcanoes.
Extremely beautiful Picture as in DVD as in Blu-Ray.
Remarkable Narrative by Patrick Stewart.
One more Great Work of BBC!
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on 18 February 2011
A three part series following the daily trials, tribulations, life and death struggles of a few of the remaining 700 or so mountain gorillas that survive within the forests and volcanic mountains that straddle the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
As well as following the current dynamic and charasmatic individuals and groups the programmes also offer contextual and relevant historical background, often with archive footage, of some of the elder surviving members and Diane Fossey who laid the foundations for the ongoing work which shows the life cycle of gorillas and external pressures which exist and impact upon their continuing existence.
The environments are stunning and quite diverse from the forests at the bottom of the mountains to the cooler wetter lush summit and associated temperature extremes. The fact that there are any gorillas left at all living in small pockets of the three aforementioned countries whose human populations have had to experience atrocity after atrocity resulting from political instability, genocide, long and enduring civil wars (at the height of Congo's war there were up to 25 different armed factions fighting) is testament to the resoursefulness and endurability of these apes, the incredible work a small number of individuals have been involved in for 40 years and probably geographical good fortune as far as the mountain range which limits human encrouchment and allows relatively easy transference across three borders. It was interesting seeing some of the gorillas that had crossed over from the Congo many with damaged or missing limbs and digits as a result of the use of snares although illegal snare use is an ongoing problem within all areas gorillas forage.
These programmes are beautifully filmed. They are really interesting but quite tense in parts as it is all too easy to find oneself emotional investing in the individuals/groups as you follow them during the course of the programme. The behaviour and environment are so dynamic and often life alteringly dangerous that it has you gripped, often fearful as to the survival chances of a particular ape or family group. Whilst not exactly nature red in tooth and claw as gorillas are not naturally aggressive per se outside of the natural behaviours of defending their group, power struggles etc, there are plenty of 'rumbles in the jungles' more often then not just evidenced the next morning by the cuts and lacerations on a particular young silverback who has fancied his chances. It does make it clear also that infanticide does occur in gorilla societies if an existing top silverback is deposed but really the perils that surround them are enough to contend with so whilst this programme doesn't feature this it does not shy away from the difficulties of their existence and shows stock footage of gorillas bodies having been killed by poachers (most recently from 1997 when 6 gorillas were killed in Congo suspected to be by charcoal harvesters)

The three programmes are as follows:

Kingdom in the Clouds - Focusing mainly upon small groups of gorillas that live on the slopes of the Virunga mountains; shows the risks that exist for gorillas here with illegal snaring amongst the bamboo plants (aimed at catching antelope etc but can and do trap gorillas) Follows a large troop of 46 gorillas including one 3 year old female gorilla abandoned by her mother who left the silverback for a rival and has to rely solely on her father for survival.

Last Stand of the Silverback King - Focuses upon Titus probably the most successful silverback known. Titus was orphaned when a baby after his father, the top silverback, was killed protecting him from poachers. In the power vacumn that followed amongst the gorillas his mother left the group leaving him behind; Titus was not expected to survive but was adopted by an unrelated silverback. Titus grew to be king and himself adopted an orphaned unrelated baby; now Titus is under threat and the survival of both him and his orphan are at stake. Incredible episode.

Safe in Our Hands - Shows ongoing inititives aimed at preserving gorillas via supporting local populations such as alternatives to charcoal (a really successful initiative) promoting tourism (also covered in an earlier episode) as well as continuing the stories of some of the individuals being followed.

It looks more hopeful then it did back in the 80's that's for sure. For the last 20 years as the programme relays gorilla populations here have been rising. There's far too much that this programme covers about gorilla behaviour, etc to even touch on here; its narrated nicely by Patrick Stewart who gives a measured voiceover so allowing the viewer to not be distracted from the visual imagery. Absolute quality programme making.
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on 19 October 2013
This is an excellent Blu Ray concentrating solely on the plight of the endangered Gorillas. It is such a shame that they are surrounded by war mongering humans, forever affecting their territories.
One slight negative is that the Blu Ray is only 1080i.
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on 7 January 2012
Having read the book about Dianne Fossey long ago, I have always wandered about her fascination with these creatures. I bought this DVD on a Amazon dirt-cheap offer because it was so keenly recommended by viewers and was not disappointed. In fact it is 3 DVD's, each one with a different story. I know it is now posible to go visit these animals in person but since we all cannot, the DVD has some great advantages - it gives close ups of the animals , much better than I suspect one would be able to do in nature, and also follows their lives over a long period of time. Thoroughly enjoyable - including some wonderful footage of the mountain scenery.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 26 January 2017
This is a three part documentary with the episodes lasting about 60 minutes. Total running time is 177 minutes. The individual episodes are: Kingdom in the Clouds; Last Stand of the Silverback King; Safe in Our hands.

The films themselves are of HD quality throughout and can sustain close viewing distance typical of that quality. The disc is copyrighted as 2010 vintage.

The voice over is provided in English read by English actor Patrick Stewart. Having a narrator who paces the script well and with apparent personal interest greatly enhances the enjoyment for viewers. Patrick Stewart fulfils that requirement well enough to engage and maintain viewers’ interest.

The three episodes follow the lives of the World’s surviving 700 Mountain Gorillas which are only found in the area surrounding the Virunga Volcanoes in the Great Rift Valley of Africa. These gorillas are found in the Bwindi forest region of Uganda as well as Rwanda and the Congo. They live in a compact area close to their adjoining borders. The format of all three episodes is to follow these groups of gorillas by focusing one at a time and thereby achieving a sense of narration as well as comparison.

Over the three episodes we find out that of the 700 remaining gorillas, about 300 are to be found in the Bwindi Forest of Uganda and they differ from the Rwandan gorillas by following a lifestyle that includes more fruit, features more tree climbing and where each group covers a bigger area. The Rwandan gorillas amount to some 200 which are made up of 9 groups. Those in the Congo also number about 200.

There is considerable daily observation of these gorillas with The Rwandan team numbering 70 of which 7 are specialist vets. Tribute is paid to the sustained original studies made over many years by Dian Fossey which is being continued by her successor teams of researches and conservationists in all three countries. This is a life of dedication with 130 of the 650 Rangers having been killed to date and who find and destroy around 1000 illegal snares annually. These are not aimed directly at the gorillas but are still potentially fatal as bi-product. Main threats to these populations of gorillas are poachers, and disease from contact with nearby human populations from which the gorillas have no natural immunity. Face masks are now worn whenever contact is made in the Congo.

The first episode especially features the trips made by the Rwandan gorillas to the bamboo growing areas in each of the two annual rainy seasons. Bamboo contains important minerals but is also a dangerous area because of the bamboo traps. Episode two focuses on the power struggles between the adult male Silverbacks to achieve and retain supremacy. Episode three completes the survey by addressing the problems of future survival and well-being of these endangered animals.

Education is an important tool in the struggle for the gorillas’’ future survival as is tourism. The income from tourism is a considerable and important factor for local populations who are able to see the gorillas as a source of increased wealth. Essentially, the basic consideration is that live gorillas are more valuable than dead ones. Increasingly this seems the most likely and encouraging single message.

This series provides a detailed, informative and invaluable report on the state of the remaining Mountain Gorillas. There is room for hope here although the gorillas’ situation remains very fragile within an area prone to human conflict and an expanding human population with attendant agricultural interests.
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on 8 October 2012
Set against the backdrop of one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth, this is a fascinating, highly insightful and beautifully filmed portrait of these remarkable creatures - not to mention the concerted efforts of a dedicated few who are battling to save them from extinction.

Although unsurprised by the exceptional quality of the filming and production - it is by the BBC after all - I was quite taken aback at just how emotional a journey the viewer is taken on as the film crew follow the gripping dramas of the gorillas' everyday lives. I was utterly hooked, and in terms of emotional roller coasters, it's right up there with the magical 'The Bear Family and Me', where Gordon Buchanan becomes intimately acquainted with an orphaned Black Bear cub.

Although 'Mountain Gorilla' is quite sad at times, it's not nearly as harrowing as some nature programmes, and any sad moments are amply balanced by those that are more positive. For example, there is good news for the two adorable orphaned youngsters, and in terms of the species as a whole, the viewer is left with a feeling of hope for the future.

I also liked Patrick Stewart's laid-back narration, which I thought suited these programmes very well, though I'm afraid I couldn't stop thinking of his appearance in 'Extras', where his bizarre alter ego is preoccupied with leering at naked ladies!
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on 7 October 2013
Stewart is not Sir David but he does a good job of narration nonetheless. Of course it is the photography that is superb and well up to BBC Wildlife's usual standards.

Moving, uplifting and deeply saddening in places this Blu-ray is highly recommended to anyone interested in wildlife.

I bought several BBC Blu-rays (3 for £17), which I can only say is outstanding value for money!
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on 1 February 2015
Just wonderful to get up and close to these magnificent creatures. The narration is adequate, and picture quality excellent. Glad to see the BBC do natural world documentaries of such fine quality, and draw attention to the majesty and plight of these endangered, majestic animals.
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