BBC Mountain Gorilla

Synopsis: Three-part television documentary about the lives of the 700 remaining mountain gorillas in Africa.
Genre: Documentary
180 min

In the heart of Africa,

straddling the borders of Rwanda,

Uganda and Congo,

lies a remarkable mountain kingdom.

It's home to the last 700

mountain gorillas in the world.

With so few left,

they're under constant surveillance

from a dedicated band of humans.

A species in intensive care.

Our cameras have been given

privileged access

to these precious animals

by the people that record

every detail of their lives.

In this programme, we'll be following

some of the youngest

and most vulnerable gorillas.

We witness the plight of two orphans

caught in a brutal civil war.

A young female on the cusp of adulthood,

battling with feelings

she's unable to control.

And a new gorilla king,

struggling to earn the respect

of the group he fought so hard to win.

In these uncertain times,

is the mountain gorilla's future

safe in our hands?

On the volcanic slopes

of the mountains of Rwanda

there has been momentous change.

Titus, the 35-year-old gorilla king,

is dead.

At his peak, he ruled over 25 gorillas

and became the most successful

silverback in recorded history.

Now his reign is over.

The young orphan he protected

has also lost his struggle for life.

Titus was hounded to the point

of exhaustion by a younger silverback,

his son, Rano.

The old ruler simply couldn't fight

any more, slowly fading away,

until finally one morning

he simply didn't wake up,

worn out by life

and his own son.

For Rwandan gorilla researcher

Felix Ndagijimana, it's the end of an era.

Titus was one of my favourite

gorillas, and I guess,

well, he was everybody's favourite,

not only me.

Now that Titus has gone, and Rano

has taken over the group he's, um,

I would say that

he's keeping the group together,

and that's the most important,

but it's really hard

for the individuals in the group

to accept him as the leader,

especially Tuck,

the only female of the group, who had

a very close relationship with Titus.

You can see that the group is not

as close as it used to be

when Titus was still alive.

At just 17 years old,

Rano is the same age as his father was

when he became leader of this group.

But Rano is discovering

that to be a great silverback,

it's not enough just to be the son

of a once great king.

Already, things aren't looking good.

The other gorillas seem reluctant

to accept him as their new leader.

Tuck, the only female in the group,

is on the verge of leaving.

She only stays

because of her young son.

Before Titus's death,

he was a confident four-year-old.

Now he's regressed,

becoming more reliant on his mother.

Tuck is torn between her duty as a parent

and her contempt for Rano.

This is a group in turmoil,

and its leader needs to prove himself.

Can Rano win their confidence

and keep the group together?

Mountain gorillas are a species

in intensive care.

Around 700 remain in the wild,

and everything humanly possible

is done to keep them safe.

The mountain gorilla vets

are a vital part of this effort.

They're dedicated to monitoring

the gorillas' health,

and can be called upon

at a moment's notice.

Magda Braum is one of those vets.

She has worked with apes

for over ten years.

Today, she's travelling

from her base in Rwanda

and crossing the border into Congo,

to the town of Goma.

Congo is home to around

200 mountain gorillas,

about a third of the total population.

A huge country, it was the location

of the Great War of Africa,

a conflict that began in 1998

and involved eight nations

and around 25 armed groups.

Today the war's over,

but eastern Congo,

where the mountain gorillas live,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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