Over the last 100 years the mountain Gorilla has had quite a history with numerous people and groups working to ensure their livelihood.


Speke and Grant, British explorers discover the chain of volcanos " Virunga " that Speke names "Munbiras mountains ".

Robert Von Beringe, German captain, is the first European to observe the mountain gorillas on the Sabinyo volcano which are named Gorilla gorilla beringei by Matschie in 1903.

Carl Akeley, an American naturalist convinces his Majesty Albert, King of Belgium, to create the Albert National Park, the first national park of Africa. The boundary is widened in 1929.

George Schaller, American zoologist, undertakes a basic study of the mountain gorillas of Albert National Park. It continues until 1960.

After the independence of Belgian Congo (became Zaire later on), the Volcanos National Park is divided into two parts. That located in Rwanda takes the name Volcanos National Park. In 1974, the Zaire part is called the Virunga National Park.

Dian Fossey, American zoologist, begins the first long-term study on wild gorillas. It succeeds in habituating the gorillas to human presence.

The Rwandan Office of Tourism and the Park Department (ORTPN) is created by a ordinance-law giving Rwanda new laws on the National park, hunting and tourism.

The Mountain Gorilla Project is approved following a convention between the Rwandan government and a consortium formed by several private organizations interested in nature conservation (AWF, WWF, FFPS...) Three priority programs are
- Protection of the fauna and flora of the park
- Creation of " gorilla tourism"
- Teaching the local people.

December 27, Dian Fossey was killed in her cabin at Karisoke Research Center. Her death remains a mystery. She was buried at Karisoke, in a cemetery she created for the gorillas.

The last census of the mountain gorilla population. (approximately 324 in Virunga and 320 in the forest of Bwindi)

Mrithi, male silverback of Group 13, is killed at dawn, a victim of poaching.


Beginning of the civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi.
18 to 22 mountain gorillas were killed during fighting in Rwanda.

Reopening of the Volcanos National Park was announced by the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National parks.


Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, the Director of the Cabinet of Rwanda appoints Keesling as head of a governmental Task Force. The MGCF is developed to administer the designated projects.


October 17th; MGCF hosts the 100th anniversary of the identification discovery of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.


Keesling wins Lifetime Achievement Award from British Airways for worldwide conservation efforts for gorilla protection.