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One of the most memorable and talked-about scenes from any TV documentary ever is Sir David Attenborough's 1978 encounter with wild Mountain gorillas Gorilla beringei in the Parc National des Volcans of Rwanda, broadcast in episode 12 ('A life in the trees') of the ground-breaking series Life on Earth, first broadcast in 1979. Gorillas Revisited covered the behind-the-scenes history of the 1978 filming, and what has happened to the Rwandan gorillas since. Attenborough was joined by Life on Earth producer John Sparks, cameraman Martin Saunders, and Ian Redmond, former assistant to Dian Fossey and now director of Global Great Ape Conservation. It was a fascinating story, tragically sad in places, uplifting in others.
Most people -- even those without a special interest in zoology -- know the story of Dian Fossey and the gorillas she studied while at the Karisoke Research Center thanks to the 1988 film (and/or Fossey's 1983 book) Gorillas in the Mist. So it might come as no surprise to learn that the BBC team sought permission from Fossey to film 'her' gorillas, as they'd heard that this group had become habituated (= accustomed to humans). Somewhat surprisingly, Fossey gave enthusiastic approval, and urged Attenborough and colleagues to help promote the gorilla conservation work she, Redmond and her colleagues had initiated. At the time of the filming, Fossey was ill and still devastated by the recent killing of Digit, a young male gorilla who had been speared to death on New Year's Eve 1977. After the filming, the BBC team were shot at and arrested by the Rwandan army, who were under the impression that the film was being made in order to show what a bad job Rwanda was doing for gorilla conservation. The army also thought that the BBC had been filming Digit's body. They strip-searched Attenborough and confiscated the film cans, but the crew had cleverly swapped the labels on the cans, so the soldiers were confiscating unused film.
During the Life on Earth sequence one young gorilla clambers all over Attenborough and lies back on Attenborough's chest. From its behaviour you might assume that this gorilla was a plucky, bold and confident individual. Well, he was named Pablo, and today he is an adult silverback. Another individual who was a youngster when Attenborough encountered him, Titus, is today a silverback who leads a group of 59 animals: the biggest recorded gorilla group ever. Many of the gorillas named by Fossey are doing well today, and have become parents and grandparents, and Fossey will always be remembered for initiating one of the first long-term generation-level studies of a wild mammal population.
=== File Information ===
File Name: Gorillas Revisited with David Attenborough.avi
File Size: 669,582,620 bytes
=== Video Information ===
Video Codec: XviD 1.2 SMP
Video Bitrate: 1363 kbps
Resolution: 624 x 352
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
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