Craghoppers and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund – HOPE Video
Craghoppers and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund – HOPE Video
A powerful film, which revisits the plight of the critically endangered, mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the team of people who are responsible for their survival.
Produced by Craghoppers and voiced by Sir David Attenborough, Hope was filmed in the Volcanoes National Park 47 years after Dian Fossey began her life’s work in mountain gorilla conservation. Only ruins of Fossey’s original Karisoke Research Centre remain – but we meet the research team in their new home, where 120 people continue Dian’s work.
Never before seen footage goes behind the scenes as they intensely monitor the gorillas, with the help of a dedicated team of trackers and anti poaching patrols – whose job it is to follow the great apes every day, 365 days per year, through difficult and sometimes dangerous terrain.
The documentary also shows the very human side to the Fossey Fund’s approach to conservation as we follow the local people who live next to the gorillas’ habitat and the work that is being done to change attitudes. The children living in these communities today have grown to love and the respect the gorillas that their people once killed for their own survival.
Despite over 40 years of extreme conservation, which was pioneered by Dian Fossey and has resulted in a population increase of 52%, the mountain gorillas remain critically endangered.
Providing much hope for the future, yet highlighting the need for continued support, the film has one very clear message: we must protect the people protecting the mountain gorillas – they are their only hope of survival.
Credits: Produced by Craghoppers, Directed by Danny Heaton, Andy Smith & Peter Mcbride, Photography Directed by Peter Mcbride & Andy Smith, Cinematography by Peter Mcbride, Second Camera Andy Smith, Offline Editing by Flávia De Souza, Online Editing By Ben Barden, Assistant Editors Greg Hanson & Lj Frezza, Sound Mix Ben Barden, Colourist Ben Barden, Screenplay by Sophie Crewdson, Voice Over by Sir David Attenborough, Graphics by Cactus Creative, Additional Support Kristin Braga Wright, Laura Ryan & Joe Lethbridge, Additional Material The Rwanda Development Board, National Institute Of Statistics Rwanda & The New York Times. Special Thanks to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Veronica Vecellio, Felix Ndagijimana, Francois Bigirimana, Juan Carlos Bonilla & Joseph Karama.
GORILLA FAST FACTS
Mountain gorillas live in only three countries: Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
They live in the mountains, where conditions are misty, cloudy and cold. Because of this the mountain gorillas possess much thicker hair than their cousins, the lowland gorillas.
At the Karisoke Research Centre, the Fossey Fund monitored the largest gorilla group ever recorded with 65 individuals. This is about six times the size of an average group.
A dominant “silverback” gorilla (so named for the silver hair on his back) is in charge of leading the group’s daily travels as they search for the vegetation. He also helps keep the peace within the group and can act as a babysitter for females when they want time to forage on their own.
The mountain gorilla diet consists of a variety of plants, such as wild celery, nettles, thistles and bamboo. They are total vegetarians, eating up to 60 lbs of vegetation a day.
Male mountain gorillas can reach 400 pounds when fully grown, with females reaching about 200 pounds. Newborn gorillas weigh on average only four and half pounds.
Gorillas travel every day, then build fresh nests on the ground every evening in a different place for their night’s rest.
Mountain gorillas are still classified as critically endangered. The population in the Virungas has almost doubled since the time of Dian Fossey, from 250 in 1967 to 480 individuals according to the last census in 2010. Although this is positive news, the very small size of the population and the high number of threats they face means that the situation is still extremely fragile.
Trackers formally identify gorillas by their ‘nose prints’ which are unique patterns of wrinkles on their noses. Each year, the Fossey Fund gets new photos of all the gorillas to update their nose print files.
The mountain gorilla is the only type of gorilla (and actually great ape) that is seeing a population increase, due to the extreme conservation efforts the Fossey Fund participates in, including daily protection and routine anti-poaching patrols.
Over the last decade, the Fossey Fund has seen an average of 10 infants born per year in the 10 groups that they monitor. However, only as few as 50% of these may survive through infancy.
The Fossey Fund team spends an estimated 20,000 hours in the field per year in direct gorilla monitoring and protection activities. As part of this, they collect over two million cells of data on all aspects of the gorillas’ lives.
Travel; being outdoors; exploring new cultures; discovering epic places – that’s what makes us tick. Travelling gives us a buzz that nothing else can equal. Every clever idea we’ve ever come up with is down to our experiences. Sometimes it’s the experiences we imagine ourselves having – those escapist thoughts that lead us to consider the clothing we’d wear if we were trekking through the rainforest, sailing rugged coastlines or summiting volcanoes. On the other it’s about the experiences we’ve already had. Those moments where we’ve thought, ‘this is it; this is where I want to be’.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is dedicated to the conservation and protection of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. We are committed to promoting continued research on the gorillas and their threatened ecosystems and to providing education about their relevance to the world in which we live. In collaboration with government agencies and other international partners, we also provide assistance to local communities through education, health, training and development initiatives.
ABOUT CRAGHOPPERS AND DIAN FOSSEY
Less than 900 mountain gorillas remain in the world. Founded in 1978, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) team work tirelessly to track, monitor and protect them, and preserve their habitats in Rwanda and Congo.
They are committed to promoting continued research in the gorillas and their threatened ecosystems and to providing education about their relevance to the world in which we live. The DFGFI’s work is vital – not only for the health and protection of these magnificent creatures, but for the livelihoods of local people for whom gorilla tourism is a precious lifeline.
Inspired, we became determined to support the DFGFI’s work in any way we can. We’ve provided specialist clothing to ease the long days of DFGFI trackers and researchers. And we’ve collaborated with an award-winning visual storyteller (and Craghoppers Ambassador) Peter McBride to raise awareness of the work the whole world should see. Our journey to the Virunga rainforest opened our eyes. We hope it will open yours too.