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In the Kingdom of Gorillas

The Quest to Save Rwanda's Mountain Gorillas


When Bill Weber and Amy Vedder arrived in Rwanda to study mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey, the gorilla population was teetering toward extinction. Poaching was rampant, but it was loss of habitat that most endangered the gorillas. Weber and Vedder realized that the gorillas were doomed unless something was done to save their forest home. Over Fossey's objections, they helped found the Mountain Gorilla Project, which would inform Rwandans about the gorillas and the importance of conservation, while at the same time establishing an ecotourism project -- one of the first anywhere in a rainforest -- to bring desperately needed revenue to Rwanda.

In the Kingdom of Gorillas introduces readers to entire families of gorillas, from powerful silverback patriarchs to helpless newborn infants. Weber and Vedder take us with them as they slog through the rain-soaked mountain forests, observing the gorillas at rest and at play. Today the population of mountain gorillas is the highest it has been since the 1960s, and there is new hope for the species' fragile future even as the people of Rwanda strive to overcome ethnic and political differences.

An NPR Science Friday
Best Science Book of 2001 Selection

A Toronto Globe and Mail
Top Science and Nature Choice for 2001

"The pages of this book are filled with adventure and heroism, tragedy and joy." -- Jane Goodall Author of In the Shadow of Man

"The best book ever written for those who want to understand not only the glory of Africa's wildlife but also the setting for that glory.... Bill Weber and Amy Vedder are two remarkable human beings; the gorillas were lucky to find them, and you are, too." -- Bill McKibben Author of The End of Nature

"In the Kingdom of Gorillas is inspiring [and] quietly optimistic." -- Natalie Angier The New York Times

"A vivid portrait...a gripping read." -- Steven Austed Natural History

"Excellent...a clear, moving account...ultimately optimistic." -- Robert Sapolsky, author of A Primate's Memoir

"The authors convey a clear and vivid affection for their research subjects and an abiding fascination with their behavior...entertaining reading."

The Washington Post Book World

"As a primer for the uncomfortable reality that lies ahead, every starry-eyed would-be conservationist should read this book...Its range is immense."

Times of London Literary Supplement