National Geographic : 1971 Oct
More Years With Mountain Gorillas By DIAN FOSSEY Photographs by ROBERT M. CAMPBELL T WO BLACK hairy arms circled the tree trunk. A moment later a furry head appeared. Bright eyes peered at me through a lat tice of ferns. I occupied a branch of another tree, slightly downhill from the gorilla who stared at me. We were both in a forest on Mount Visoke in Rwanda, where I have been studying gorillas in the wild. The face was familiar, not only by its features but by its impish expression; it belonged to Pea nuts, one of my favorite gorillas. Heisamemberofoneofthe groups I have studied closely, and that have grown used to my pres ence among them. Peanuts was wearing an ex pression I think of as "fun and games"; I have learned to recog nize it in gorillas when they want to prolong a contact with me. Slowly, I left the tree and got down into the foliage to make feeding noises to reassure him. The moments that followed are 574 among the most memorable of my life. They were particularly im portant to me because this was, in a sense, a farewell visit to the mountain slope. I was shortly to leave Africa for a prolonged stay in Cambridge, England, where I would begin working on a doc toral thesis and other technical reports on gorilla behavior. Peanuts left his tree for a bit of strutting before he began his approach in my direction. He is a showman. He beat his chest; he threw leaves into the air; he swaggered and slapped the foliage around him, and then suddenly he Shy vegetarian dines on Ga lium vines in the shrinking wilds of Central Africa. Largest of the great apes, mountain gorillas were widely feared when Dian Fossey began to study them in 1967. After thou sands of hours of observations, she reports them to be among the gentlest of creatures. EKTACHROME © N.G.S .