Look into my eyes..... I am a critically endangered mountain gorilla from the Parc de Volcanes, Virunga, Rwanda. Properly I am called Gorilla beringei beringei, and there are not many like me left. Estimates vary a little, but the population of mountain gorillas has recovered a little to a mere 800 or so individuals. You won’t find me in a zoo as I don’t survive at lower levels, if you want to meet me then you’ve got to come to my home in the jungle of either the Virunga mountains of Central Africa where the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo meet, or come to the Bwindi Impenetrable forest of Uganda. It will be a long and expensive journey, and we’ll only meet for an hour a day, but look into my eyes and it will be worth every penny, cent or whatever that you spend. The fees you pay help protect me and my family, the money you spend in the lodges helps give employment to the humans around me, and this gives me a value, hopefully a greater value alive than poached.
Look into my eyes..... and see a cousin; perhaps you’ll look closer, maybe see a brother? I am sociable, proud of my family, I will defend them to my death, indeed I will die to protect them. Most days I will concentrate on food, sleep and play. Every day I will move through the jungle, making a new nest for each night. If you look at my mountains from a distance, I live above the wall. You can tell the wall from a distance, it marks the line where fields end and jungle covers the rest of the mountain.
Look into my eyes..... all I really ask is to be left alone. I am from a group habituated to humans, which is why you could take this photograph. You will be with me for an hour. Please don’t get too close to me, I don’t want to catch your germs, so bring that longer lens for the close ups. I’ll come to you if I want. I really need more space, maybe one day the fields will be bought and the jungle allowed to re-grow a little lower down my mountains.
I know the land that I would buy if I won the lottery.