Gorillas on the Edge (1999)

National Geographic

Silverback Mountain Gorillas: A young silverback mountain gorilla poses on the rim of a volcanic crater with a lake below in the background.
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Date Added: 10 years ago.

Documentary Description


National Geographic takes an exclusive in-depth look at current conditions facing the endangered mountain gorilla in war-torn Rwanda. National Geographic has teamed up with scientists from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) to reestablish contact with the highly endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda. For two years, the gorillas' home - Volcanoes National Park - was closed because of violent unrest that threatened the region. The gorillas that roam the rain forest were left unprotected, at the mercy of poachers and gunfire. When the park finally reopened this past summer, National Geographic became the first film crew in the world allowed back in to assess the damage and see how the gorillas are faring. The key to the gorillas' survival is the health of their habitat. By using cutting edge, remote-sensing technology to map Volcanoes National Park, National Geographic is helping to support pioneering research and usher in a new era of gorilla conservation. Coinciding with DFGFI scientists on the ground, a team of experts from Idaho-based Earth Search Sciences, Inc. flew a groundbreaking mission to Rwanda. Using hyperspectral imaging technology that was first developed by NASA, the Probe 1 instrument is attached to a fixed wing plane. The two hundred pound device analyzes light waves reflected from ground objects, creating an ultra-high resolution map that will provide scientists with the most accurate data ever recorded. National Geographic has exclusive coverage of the mapping mission and the results of the aerial survey. National Geographic first chronicled the work of anthropologist Dian Fossey in the 1970's. While studying the gorillas, Fossey was able to develop such a trusting relationship that, eventually, they allowed her to sit among them. Although she was mysteriously murdered in 1985, Fossey's legacy continues as her intimate observations provide the foundation for modern gorilla research and conservation. Join National Geographic for an exclusive in-depth look at the current conditions facing Dian Fossey's beloved and endangered mountain gorillas in war-torn Rwanda.

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