The American missionary Thomas S. Savage noticed the skull of a large great ape when he was in Gabon in 1847. He was able to acquire several more skulls and some bones from this, until then, unknown species. After returning to the USA, he described the species together with Jeffries Wyman. The first mountain gorilla was described by Paul Matschie with a specimen that Robert von Beringe had shot in 1902.

Externally, the species differ in several characteristics. The nose of the western gorillas is broader than in the eastern populations. The silvery back of adult males extends to hips and upper thighs in the western gorillas. The mountain gorillas of the Virungas have shorter arms and very long, silky hair, mainly on the arms. While the hair of the eastern species is usually deep black (apart from the silvery back of the males), the western gorillas' hair can take on a grey or brownish tinge in both males and females.

Pressures on Natural Resources of the Maiko National Park

Management of the Maiko National Park (MNP) has remained difficult due to the presence of armed groups in different sectors of the park. The…


DFGF Celebrates 50 Years of Karisoke

It is 50 years now that Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center to study the little known mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National…


Colin P. Groves - 24 June 1942 to 30 November 2017

Anyone working with or interested in gorillas knows the name of Colin Groves. And anyone who not only knows the name but met the man himself knows…


The Story of Two Pioneers in the Habituation of Eastern Gorillas

Scientifically, there are four subspecies of gorillas: Gorilla beringei beringei, Gorilla beringei graueri, Gorilla gorilla gorilla and Gorilla…


Obituary: Jordi Sabater Pí

(© col. Sabater)

The ethologist Jordi Sabater Pí, Professor Emeritus at the Universitat de Barcelona and one of the internationally best-known Spanish scientists, died…


History of Mountain Gorilla Research

Titus in 1974, 2 days old, in the arms of his mother Flossie (© Kelly Stewart)

Fifty years ago, in 1959, George Schaller left New York for Africa to begin a study of mountain gorillas that would have lasting impact. His year of…


Conservation in Sarambwe

This motorcycle was donated with funds of the Apenheul Primate Conservation Trust (© Claude Sikubwabo Kiyengo)

From its establishment in 1952 the Rutshuru Hunting Reserve included the Sarambwe hills until its recognition as the Sarambwe Special Reserve in 1998.…


Where are the Gorillas?

20th Anniversary of the BRD

A meeting of the board of directors in 1984: Manfred Hartwig, Rolf Brunner and Paul-Hermann Bürgel.

In 1983, Paul-Hermann Bürgel, a great animal lover, spent his holidays on one of his world trips. This time he crossed Africa from north to south.…


The Man Who Discovered the Mountain Gorilla

Gorillas in African Culture and Medicine

Men who Named the African Apes