Gorillas in the Mist
Originally titled Virunga, this is the story of Dian Fossey, the mountain gorillas’ greatest champion and martyr. Based on Fossey’s personal papers and on interviews with her colleagues, friends, and enemies, Gorillas in the Mist reveals one woman’s passion for life — and the creatures who share it with us.
responsibility as on-site director to discourage any attempts by you and your wife to return to the center during the upcoming year.” Harcourt did not reply. However, he informed the V-W couple that he would soon be arriving in Kigali. When this news reached Stuart, he began to panic. On March 27 he wrote to Dian: “Harcourt is coming in April—no doubt to visit camp to see what the situation is. What is the status of the camp, Dian? If National Geo gives him money and authority, what course of
enthusiasm, and a considerable interest in the mundane. I can’t believe it. This Trappist monk, Father Raymond, who wrote the best-selling book The Man Who Got Even with God, obviously has a liking for me. Last Sunday Mary White called to say he was coming to Louisville and wanted to see me. Well, that was about the most rewarding experience in my life. Talking to him is like sitting on top of a live volcano. You’re constantly exploding one idea on top of another. You leave his presence, and
mercurial personality. From time to time he returned to his home in Nairobi, and Dian dreaded these departures. She missed him deeply and sometimes turned to drinking at night to dull the loneliness. During his absence, she would spend hours sewing curtains or making other wifely improvements to his quarters in preparation for his return. Her private life did not, however, interfere with her gorilla studies—or with her war against poachers and herders. She was indefatigable and implacable at
early, but the animals were missing from their usual haunts on the southwestern slopes of Mt. Visoke. After a search lasting several hours he finally came on their travel trail leading across the saddle toward Mt. Mikeno. At the same time he encountered an obstreperous herd of elephants and prudently turned back. The weather next day remained so lovely that Dian could not stay in camp. Having dispatched Ian and Nemeye to locate Uncle Bert’s errant family, she set out nominally to look for
Benda-Lema, so an almost apoplectic Dian was told. Further, the French told her they not only wanted the camp staff and gorilla study groups made available for filming, but expected her to act as research consultant too! Drawn up to her full imposing height, eyes flashing and arms akimbo, Dian erupted. “Holy hell! That’s all you want? You don’t want me to hang by one arm from a tree and beat my chest? I don’t give a shit who said you could come here! Out of my sight!” Retreating to her cabin,