In the Midst of Gorillas

Via Marylee Fairbanks
on Nov 5, 2011
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“The king’s name is Gukubita. It means ‘beat’. But don’t worry, he beats his chest not his visitors.” Our guide Eugene winks, adjusts the automatic rifle on his shoulder, and turns toward the jungle.

We walk up the base of the Sambinyo Volcano to track Gukubita and his family of mountain gorillas.

Rwanda’s volcano region is called the Virunga Mountains and is the place Dian Fossey founded the Karasoke Research Center in 1967 to study and protect the gorillas.

Karasoke protects one third of all mountain gorillas in the Virungas, and because of their efforts the critically endangered population has increased by almost seven hundred.

Eugene’s machete rings out a high Cschringgg, as it strikes the bamboo thicket. The lush, emerald-colored terrain is difficult to navigate. There are no trails, so we walk on top of the vegetation.

I silently wish I remembered my gaiters and gloves, as my limbs scrape against the stinging nettles. Each unsteady step produces a new welt.

We pass three men who live on the volcano by day. They are armed, quiet, and greet us with nods. These men protect the gorillas from hired poachers, who kill the majestic animals for souvenir heads and hands, then sell them as bushmeat. The baby gorillas are taken from their families and sold to exotic animal owners, who focus only on their status in society and not their proper place on the planet.

Continue reading at Daedalus


About Marylee Fairbanks

Marylee Fairbanks is a columnist for Gaiam, elephant journal, My Life Yoga, and, Her essays explore Motherhood and yoga, but mainly focus on her experiences with her young son and the many ways he helps her grow. She is a registered yoga teacher and founder of Chakras Yoga and The 24 Things. She teaches Chakras Balancing workshops and yoga classes. Prior to having her son, she performed in Broadway musicals across the country. Marylee lives in Massachusetts with her husband, son, and dogs. Find her on her website and follow her on twitter.


4 Responses to “In the Midst of Gorillas”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    You leave me wanting more!! xoxo

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  2. mayrlee says:

    thanks tanya! it was a transcendental moment in my life!

  3. Kimmy says:

    I want to go. Love it.