For along time African people have known that gorillas lived in the forests. The origin of the name gorilla is over 2000 years ago when an explorer from North African city encountered apes on the coast of West Africa. He described a wild battle when several of his men were wounded and scratched trying to capture live specimens. In the 20th century the scientific community discovered mountain gorillas though most gorillas described and collected were of the more common western lowland gorillas. Gorillas living in the mountains of central Africa were only confirmed when two animals were shot in the slopes of Mt.Sabinyo in 1902.
Hunters killed more gorillas for museum collections but at later time one hunter was awed by gorillas and encouraged people to preserve space for the protection of these gentle giants to avoid the decreasing numbers.
It was after that time that research, study and education about gorillas started which revealed the true nature of the gorilla as a shy, gentle, peaceful vegetarian.Dian Fossey helped a lot in making these gorillas famous worldly through films and popular articles. The research station she established in Rwanda still exists today where she was buried. Efforts have been made to extend knowledge about gorillas to the local people. Many programmes like International Gorilla Conservation Programme and other international programmes have come up to work with the protected area authorities of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo plus the surrounding communities around the gorilla parks to ensure their in harmony. This has helped in developing the communities and changing the local people’s attitude towards the values of forests and gorillas. Public awareness campaigns have helped in realization of conservation as the best strategy for survival. Though there is still more effort needed to sensetise the public and educates them about these rare creatures.