Entry No. 3, Rwanda
I trekked to see the gorillas again! We visited the Mohoza group, which is made up of a male silverback (the very handsome and strong Mohoza), eight females, and three infants. The babies are so cute!
I texted Ellen when I got back to the lodge telling her I wanted a baby gorilla. I’m obsessed with them! Luckily I have my stuffed animal which I named “Old Goat” — after Dian’s gorilla from her early days as a researcher in the Virungas — to satisfy my need to pet one. Because humans can give diseases to the gorillas, we can’t touch them anymore. But I like to imagine what it was like for Dian to hold the babies in her arms and stroke those fuzzy, wiry heads.
We got an early start, and so we actually got to see this family while they were having breakfast. That was a huge treat because they were so active, moving around to find the most delicious roots and shoots—mostly bamboo. They ate and ate and once they were full, they just powered down for a nap. Of course, the babies kept on playing, rolling around and wrestling.
Once you’ve been in the presence of mountain gorillas, you are forever changed.
Once you’ve been in the presence of mountain gorillas, you are forever changed. It made me think about the fragile success they’re experiencing. There were at least 14 gorilla babies born last year and a slight increase in their total population in the past few years. This wasn’t just luck.
It’s because of the massive commitment to the gorillas from The Fossey Fund, the Rwandan Development Board and other conservation partners. So now is the time to double down, to get more people to learn about mountain gorillas and be wowed by them. This Campus will not only help them survive, but will let others come here and experience the same life-changing emotions I had here today. The memories of this trip will stay with me for a long, long time.