If you fancy your nature documentaries with a little grit, a sprinkling of subversion, and a couple extremely endangered apes, you'll find VICE TV's brief film "Gorillas in the Midst" well worth watching. Only found in a tiny sliver of forest around a shared border between Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the scant 720 Mountain Gorillas left in the world live in vastly uncertain conditions. The documentary examines the factors that have led to the gorillas' plight, touching on the rapid economic growth, deforestation of the rainforests for agriculture, and vast political volatility of the areas that have resulted in the massive decline in the gorilla population. Many of the gorillas were caught in the middle of the fighting in the Congo, where park rangers were forced to abandon their posts. Even more of the gorillas are being killed due to the illegal Rwandan charcoal trade.
There are so many forces contributing to the uniquely dire situation, it's been difficult for activists to effectively determine a strategy to protect them. But the gorillas' dilemma hasn't gone unnoticed—even Natalie Portman trekked on their behalf for Animal Planet, and now Vice TV is spreading the word about the imperiled gorillas.
And of course, they take to the forest in their film to find one.
The 3-part series is short but illuminating, and the footage of the rare mountain gorilla they finally encounter is pretty amazing. Of course, this is VICE TV, so there's the requisite giggling from the crew when the great, rare gorilla picks his nose and eats it.
Check out parts 2 and 3 of the series on Vice TV's Gorillas in the Midst.