milby1960.typepad.com > Paul Schrader's Gorilla Trek, July 2007

Paul Schrader and his wife, Carolyn, recently (July 2007) returned from a trip to Africa during which they were privileged to engage in a trek to view the mountain gorillas of Uganda . Click on this album title to view the pictures and read Paul's commentary. When viewing the photos, click on the thumbnails for an enlarged image.

Gorillas in Uganda

Gorillas in Uganda

Paul Schrader writes:

Karla has encouraged me to share the details of our recent trip to Africa, which included a long-anticipated trek to view the mountain gorillas in Uganda.


The Plight of the Gorillas

The Plight of the Gorillas

Perhaps you’ve followed the plight of the 600 or so remaining mountain gorillas that live in the mountains where Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo join. Newsweek had a cover story last week about the mysterious killing and burning of four of the gorillas in the Congo. No one knows why they were killed (12 have been murdered in the last year), but they may be unfortunate pawns in the ugly politics of much of Africa currently.


The Plight of the Gorillas (cont.)

The Plight of the Gorillas (cont.)

Several years ago, a group of tourists were murdered in Rwanda while they were also on a gorilla trek, and the treks (and much needed revenue) were discontinued. Our trek to locate the gorillas was in the same general area as the killings, but fortunately before. I don’t know if the recent killings have had an effect on the treks in Uganda.


Paul's Gorilla Trek

Paul's Gorilla Trek

Our trek was a brutal and long walk over two mountain ranges, but the experience was well worth it. These are magnificent, and very human-like, animals and no one knows if the species can survive. They can’t live in captivity and only live in central Africa. Uganda, in particular, has made great strides in protecting them with the money raised from tourists like us, but the task is huge.


Gorilla Family Characteristics

Gorilla Family Characteristics

The trek is limited to eight (plus guides and guards) and once the gorilla family is located, the visit is limited to one hour. The family is generally 12-20, with the silverback dominant male in charge. Frequently, other adult males will also stay in the family, but they are also routinely ostracized and then become dangerous and aggressive. As you can see, we interacted very closely.


Paul's African Itinerary

Paul's African Itinerary

We also spent time in Zimbabwe to visit Victoria Falls, Namibia to see the great sand dunes and finished in South Africa.


Carolyn Schrader's Aids Project

Carolyn Schrader's Aids Project

My wife Carolyn is involved in an Aids prevention project in Zimbabwe and she also spent two weeks there assessing their progress. The incidence of Aids in many African countries is enormous and the life expectancy is less than half of ours.


A Bit of Paul's Bio

A Bit of Paul's Bio

I am mostly retired, live in Colorado, and enjoy adventure travels. I hope you will share your experiences also.

(Thank you, Paul, for sharing these photos and your insights and information with us. We look forward to hearing more from you on this blog in the future. Karla)

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