Gorillas are almost altruistic in nature. There's very little if any 'me-itis.' When I get back to civilization, I'm always appalled by 'me, me, me.'
I feel more comfortable with gorillas than people. I can anticipate what a gorilla's going to do, and they're purely motivated.
Gorillas are the largest of the great apes. A mature male may be six feet tall and weigh 400 pounds or more; his enormous arms can span eight feet.
For captive gorillas, trees should be available to climb and material such as straw, branches, or bamboo supplied for nest building.
It was their individuality combined with the shyness of their behavior that remained the most captivating impression of this first encounter with the greatest of the great apes.
Those bearing the heavy responsibility of caring for captive gorillas should be encouraged to exchange so-called nonbreeders between populations, an inherent process among free-living gorillas and one that avoids inbreeding and also stimulates productivity.
I cannot concur with those who advocate saving gorillas from extinction by killing and capturing more free-living individuals only to exhibit them in confinement.
The Parc des Volcans in Rwanda, where I conduct most of my studies, is heavily infested with poachers and herdsmen, whose cattle graze right through my camp area. Park boundaries have no meaning to these tribesmen.
Not only was it necessary to get the gorillas accustomed to the bluejeaned creature who had become a part of their daily lives, it was also very necessary for me to know and recognize the particular animals of each group as the amazing individuals they were.
Conservation of any endangered species must begin with stringent efforts to protect its natural habitat by the enforcement of rigid legislation against human encroachment into parks and other game sanctuaries.
The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people.
Among all researchers who have worked in the African field, I consider myself one of the most fortunate because of the privilege of having been able to study the mountain gorilla.
My study of the wild gorilla is not yet finished, and even when it is complete, it will contribute only a small part toward man's understanding of his closest animal relatives, the great apes. But one conclusion is already clear: The gorilla is one of the most maligned animals in the world.
The mountain gorilla faces grave danger of extinction - primarily because of the encroachments of native man upon its habitat - and neglect by civilized man, who does not conscientiously protect even the limited areas now allotted for the gorilla's survival.
Play seems to be one of the first activities inhibited by the presence of an observer until a group becomes well habituated. For this reason, I consider it more common than previously thought.
One of the basic steps in saving a threatened species is to learn more about it: its diet, its mating and reproductive processes, its range patterns, its social behavior.
I have no friends.
Any observer is an intruder in the domain of a wild animal and must remember that the rights of that animal supersede human interests. An observer must also keep in mind that an animal's memories of one day's contact might well be reflected in the following day's behavior.
It is true that there comes a time when I do literally dream about McDonald's. I dream of supermarkets and drug stores, potato chips and the Sunday morning paper.
I had a wonderful contact, especially with Uncle Bert who was an angel and led the whole group over to my side of a steep ravine I could not cross to get over to them.