There are only 700 mountain gorillas left on the planet and they all live in the vicinity of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga park. In summer 2007, someone killed seven of these magnificent creatures in cold blood. National Geographic photographers investigated why this was happening to the animals once made famous by Dr. Dian Fossey (“Gorillas in the Mist”), and unraveled the mystery in a series of videos, photo galleries and articles.
Heavily armed militias shatter the stillness in central
Africa. Desperate refugees crowd park boundaries. Charcoal producers strip forests. These are some of the challenges to the mountain gorillas’ survival. Tensions over habitat arise as soldiers in a war hide in the gorillas’ protected forest. Another issue is the trade-off between eco-tourism and the cash crop in charcoal available by cutting down the forest. Dead gorillas (and park rangers) are the result. However the loving care the local people take to perform a gorilla funeral is exceptionally moving.
Pictures of the Year International Competition’s Winner, Second Place, Best Feature Story or Essay.
Photography: Michael Nichols and Brent Stirton
Executive Producer: Brian Storm