Congo’s western lowland gorillas have long been the subject of legends. Seemingly able to vanish into the jungle, they were rarely glimpsed by outsiders. Then, in 2006, researchers discovered a population of more than 100,000 in an area long off limits due to an unrelenting armed conflict. But poaching and the threats posed by logging and deadly diseases are putting this gorilla stronghold at risk. Now, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and primatologist Mireya Mayor ventures deep into the heart of the forest to observe the culture and behavior of these mysterious great apes and help to protect these intelligent and endangered creatures.
Trek with Mireya to places where humans seldom wander and see what it takes to get ahead in the gorillas’ complex society. Enter a community where sexual politics, daily routines and dining etiquette are shaped by both brains and brawn. Mireya gets hair-raisingly close to a 350-pound gorilla patriarch and his family, then visits a gorilla gathering spot as hotly contested as any singles bar at happy hour. Mireya also observes the community of gorillas that includes the first great ape ever documented using a tool.
Access to wild gorillas is the only way we can truly understand the ways of one of man’s closest relatives. As Mystery Gorillas reveals, the key to their survival is the forest that has protected them throughout the ages. “This Eden has become their safe haven,” Mireya says, “If we can preserve this forest itself, they might just have a shot.”
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