Monday, October 31, 2011

Orphan Gorilla Transferred to New Home

"Shamavu certainly endured a traumatic capture, as most poached infants do, witnessing the death of his entire family and pried from his mother’s lifeless body. He was reportedly confined in a small knapsack for a month before the ICCN confiscated the infant in Kanyaboyonga in the Walikale area of North Kivu province on Oct. 8th. When the ICCN received word that another gorilla infant had been poached, an undercover sting operation was initiated, and the team of rangers drove eight hours into the Walikale territory to meet Shamavu’s captors and pose as potential black market buyers. The three poachers were demanding $40,000 for the infant. If justice prevails, it appears that they will receive 10 years in a Congolese prison instead..."

All images © 2011 J Shouse Photojournalism for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Few Aerial Shots of Congo

Successful Trip To Congo

I traveled to Congo a few days ago to cover a story on Shamavu (the Grauer's gorilla infant recently confiscated from poachers) and his transfer to the GRACE center. Amazingly I found myself sitting copilot with Virunga National Park Warden Emmanuel De Merode in his 1975 Cessna 187. We flew across eastern Congo from Rumangabo to Butembo with the little orphan sleeping soundly on his caretaker's lap behind me. At GRACE, Shamavu will join 11 other gorillas of his own subspecies and learn important social and survival skills. We all hope that the youngsters will one day be able to be released back into the wild. The story will be published by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International tomorrow, but here's a few sneak peek shots from the plane!

*All Images © J Shouse Photojournalism for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International*

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pablo Group Comes Down To Lower Altitudes

After a month of cold temperatures, frequent rains and thick mist on Kimbagira, the 45 gorillas of Pablo group have finally moved down into the bamboo zone.  It was a beautiful day for their arrival into the lower altitudes of the park; the sun shone brightly and the gorillas appeared to relish the warmer weather. Fossey Fund Karisoke researcher Dr. Winnie Eckardt was with the group when they arrived in the bamboo belt at 12:30pm this afternoon, with dominant silverback Cantsbee in the lead. Eckardt reported that the gorillas fanned out, in search of the best patches of bamboo shoots. The youngsters of the group were busy engaging each other in games of chase and other playful activities and the adult gorillas happily feasted on succulent shoots nearby. The scene was a stark contrast from the previous week’s observations - where every gorilla was huddled and shivering in the cold rain, high up on Kimbagira....

Photograph © Stacy Rosenbaum for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Silverback Cantsbee Found In Good Health

Karisoke researcher Stacy Rosenbaum brought great news down from the mountain today: our elderly silverback Cantsbee seems to be just fine, feeding and behaving normally again.
When the field team reached Pablo's group this morning, Cantsbee was in a new, leafy day nest about 200-250 meters up from where Dr. Eckardt’s team had left them yesterday. The 32-year-old silverback had evidently risen from his night nest and traveled up the slopes to meet the rest of his group yesterday evening. Rosenbaum reported that when she arrived she saw Cantsbee, along with all of the other gorillas, hunched over and shivering, apparently miserable from the extreme cold and constant rain...

Digambara: The Skyclad Path

I'm really excited about this new collaboration between two of my good friends and colleagues, LeVar Carter ( and Nathan Larimer ( The book, titled Digambara (which is Sanskrit for 'clad only in the quarters of the heavens') will marry fine art photography with visual demonstrations of a nude yoga practice, taking place in stunning locations around the country. LeVar says that "the practice will take us through the koshas, which are like layers of your being, radiating out from the body to progressively more subtle forms. You could also think of the five koshas in relationship to the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether."

When I get back stateside, I hope to join in on the collaboration with some nude yoga / cityscape shots of LeVar, so stay tuned!

To check some of Nathan's beautiful images in northern California (and for a behind the scenes sneak peek of the first Digambara photoshoot), check out Nathan's blog @

Now on LinkedIn (Finally!)

Happy to say that I've now got a profile up on LinkedIn! Let's connect!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Concerns About Elderly Silverback Cantsbee

Born in November 1978 and famously named by Dian Fossey, Cantsbee is the oldest mountain gorilla monitored by the Karisoke Research Center at 32 years old. The dominant silverback is beginning to show signs of his age and remained in his night nest throughout the entire day today. This behavior is clearly a cause for concern for all who have grown to love this benevolent leader of Pablo group...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Titus Gorillas Sleep Outside of Protected Park

For the first time in the history of the Karisoke Research Center’s monitored mountain gorillas, the Fossey Fund staff has observed an entire gorilla group sleeping outside of Volcanoes National Park...

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Bamboo Season

With the onset of Rwanda’s biannual rains, it is time for the bamboo season in Volcanoes National Park, when many of the mountain gorilla groups monitored by the Fossey Fund’s Karisoke™ Research Center make their way down to the “bamboo belt” near the park’s border. The Bwenge, Titus, Ugenda, Kuryama, Ntambara and Urugamba groups have already been observed at lower altitudes in the park, tempted by the prospect of tasty bamboo shoots.
When the groups of gorillas converge on the bamboo zone at the border, we are bound to see two things: an increase in interactions between groups and gorillas leaving their protected forests to venture out into the surrounding farmland....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Authorities Concerned Over Baby Gorilla Trafficking

"Baby gorilla trafficking in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo appears to be on the rise according to the Congolese Wildlife Authorities (ICCN) following the recent rescue of a poached infant gorilla.
This latest incident is the fourth since April of this year - the highest number of baby gorillas on record confiscated from poachers in a single year."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Mountain Gorilla Census Underway in Uganda

"In the past, there has been much debate about the Bwindi gorillas’ classification. Veronica Vecellio, Karisoke’s Gorilla Program manager, explained that the Bwindi population is of particular interest to primatologists because “they exhibit enough ecological and morphological differences from both Grauer’s gorillas and Virunga mountain gorillas that they could one day be classified as a separate subspecies.”

Click here to read my latest Fossey Fund E News article.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mountain Gorilla Ginseng

Ginseng, the 31 year old female mountain gorilla of Bwenge's group is rapidly deteriorating, despite the best efforts by the Fossey Fund's Karisoke Research Center and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.

Click here to read the latest post on the Fossey Fund's blog.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stress in Mountain Gorillas

Winnie Eckardt, PhD.: Studying Stress In Mountain Gorillas
(Fossey Fund E News article about my friend and roommate here at Karisoke, Winnie Eckardt.)

Photograph © 2011 for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

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