Mountain gorilla eating a tree in Rwanda

A mountain gorilla is eating a tree in Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda. © Edward Taylor

This is the mountain gorilla eating lunch in its natural habitat in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The gorilla is part of a family of about a dozen other gorillas of which there are only about 900-1000 known to remain in the wild. To find the family, we spent several hours trekking through the dense jungle thicket guided by park rangers. At the time the permit cost $500 which gets you the guided trek and a maximum of 1 hour in close proximity to the gorilla family (apparently it now costs $950). Although we were not allowed to get closer than 3m, at one point, a gorilla looked at me and came closer… and then ambled past me on the path, just a couple of feet from me. I was scared shitless. Although still considered critically endangered, the Government of Rwanda has done a good job protecting these gorillas and conserving their habitat using the funds from the permit program and the population is slowly increasing again. This photo was taken by Edward Taylor, one of the members of our trekking group.

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