Guhonda was some 450 pounds, measured over six feet when fully upright, and was shaggily, luxuriantly hirsute. Our eyes met repeatedly but fleetingly as he surveyed his terrain, and I was struck by how very nearly human his gaze was—97.7 percent of his DNA is identical to ours. Guhonda is a silverback (or sexually mature male) mountain gorilla, of the subspecies Gorilla beringei beringei. He is the dominant male in the Sabyinyo group, one of seven mountain gorilla families in Rwanda's northern Parc National des Volcans. I was crouching about ten feet away from him on the vertiginous, rain-forested slopes of a dormant volcano, seven of which, some up to 15,000 feet high, form the mountainous backbone of central Africa—'so high up,' Dian Fossey wrote, 'that you shiver more than you sweat.'It's late, so I've not read the entire thing yet. I'll probably do a quick conversion in order to read it on my Sony Reader tomorrow. Eleven pages of on-PC reading isn't particularly comfortable, but with the Reader, it'll be fine.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The Week of (Not) Living Dangerously
Condé Nast Traveler features this lengthy essay about a trip to see the Mountain Gorillas by Klara Glowczewska.