Ireland Mountain Gorilla Sheet

Mountain Gorilla Stamps



In 1847 two American explorers, Thomas Savage and Jeffries Wyman, described a new species of ape from the area of the Gabon river at a meeting of the Boston Society of Natural History. This ape was the now-familiar western lowland gorilla, which was given the scientific name of Gorilla gorilla. Tales of the giant ape had circulated for several hundred years before Savage and Wyman's report. T. H. Huxley's 1963 essay On The Natural History of the Man-Like Apes summarizes many of the earlier accounts.

The western lowland gorilla is named Gorilla gorilla gorilla to distinguish it from the mountain gorilla. Another population, the eastern lowland gorilla, is given the scientific name (Gorilla gorilla graueri). The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest of the three subspecies with males reaching a weight of 165 kg. The mountain gorilla follows with a typical male weighing around 155 kg. The eastern lowland gorilla is the smallest, with males weighing around 140 kg. Females in each subspecies weigh about half as much as the males.

In 1861 the first native accounts of a monstrous ape living in the environs of the Virunga volcanoes in Eastern Africa reached Westerners. The natives called this creature ngagi or ngila. Westerners discounted the native reports as folk tales until 1898 when Ewert Grogan came across a skeleton of the creature. Unfortunately he did not bring the skeleton down from the mountains. In 1902 an army officer Captain Robert von Beringe and his companions killed two of the apes on Mount Sabinyo during an expedition to establish the boundaries of German East Africa. They managed, with difficulty, to bring one of the corpses back for scientific examination. It was given the scientific name Gorilla gorilla beringei.

The first successful studies of the mountain gorilla in the wild took place starting in 1959. In 1967 Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Resarch Centre in Rwanda to provide a focal point for muntain gorilla research and conservation. Fossey herself studied four gorilla families over a period of twenty years until she was murdered in 1985, probably by poachers. Fossey's book Gorillas in the Mist brought the story of these "gentle giants" to a wide audience.

Currently there are less than 700 mountain gorillas left alive in the wild. About 320 live in the Virunga Volcano conservation area on the border of Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda. Another 300 live about 45 kilometers away in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Unlike lowland gorillas, mountain gorillas fare poorly in zoos. None has lived for more than a few years in captivity. Mountain gorillas are in danger of extinction from habitat loss, poaching, and war.

Bigfoot researchers point out that the forty year search for the mountain gorilla demonstrates that a large ape can elude detection for decades, and that native tales of such creatures can sometimes be based in fact.

1975 Zaire Gorilla Coin In addition to the stamps listed below, silver coins issued by Zaire in 1975 (left) and 1996 (right) depict the mountain gorilla. 1996 Zaire Gorilla Coin
Selected Mountain Gorilla Stamps
Gambia Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Gambia

Scott # 1870
Issued 1997

This stamp of the mountain gorilla is one of sixteen on a souvenir sheet depicting endangered species of the world.

Gambia Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Gambia

Scott # 2194a
Issued 2000

This stamp of the mountain gorilla is one of six on a souvenir sheet depicting endangered African wildlife.

Guyana Mountain Gorilla Souvenir Sheet
Guyana

Scott # 3331
Issued 1998

This sheet of six stamps depicts a group of six gorillas including characteristic silver-backed males.

Guyana Mountain Gorilla Souvenir Sheet
Guyana

Scott # 3333
Issued 1998

This souvenir sheet depicts a mountain gorilla eating a leaf on a background of a mother gorilla and her child.

Guyana Mountain Gorilla Souvenir Sheet
Guyana

Scott # 3675
Issued 2001

A mountain gorilla appears on this souvenir sheet which depicting tropical rainforest animals of the world. In addition to the mountain gorilla, the sheet also portrays the African elephant, the impala, the leopard, the grey parrot, the hippopotamus, the pygmy chimpanzee (bonobo), and the African green python.

Lesotho Mountain Gorilla Souvenir Sheet
Lesotho

Scott # 1245e
Issued 2000

This stamp depicting the mountain gorilla appears on a souvenir sheet of endangered wildlife of southern Africa. The other animals shown include the African black rhinoceros, the leopard, the roseate tern, the mountain zebra, and the Zanzibar red colobus monkey.

Rwanda

Scott # 60
Issued 1964

This stamp depicting the mountain gorilla is part of a set of fifteen wildlife stamps.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 359
Issued 1970

First in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 360
Issued 1970

Second in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 361
Issued 1970

Third in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 362
Issued 1970

Fourth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 363
Issued 1970

Fifth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 364
Issued 1970

Sixth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 365
Issued 1970

Seventh in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 366
Issued 1970

Eighth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 858
Issued 1978

This stamp is part of a set of eight stamps depicting primates.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1158
Issued 1983

First in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1159
Issued 1983

Second in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1160
Issued 1983

Third in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1161
Issued 1983

Fourth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1162
Issued 1983

Fifth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1163
Issued 1983

Sixth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1164
Issued 1983

Seventh in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1165
Issued 1983

Eighth in a set of eight stamps depicting the mountain gorilla.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1208
Issued 1985

First in a set of four stamps issued under the aegis of the World Wildlife Fund. Also see the maximum card and the first day cover.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1209
Issued 1985

Second in a set of four stamps issued under the aegis of the World Wildlife Fund. Also see the maximum card, the first day cover, and the deluxe proof.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1210
Issued 1985

Third in a set of four stamps issued under the aegis of the World Wildlife Fund. Also see the maximum card and the first day cover.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Rwanda

Scott # 1211
Issued 1985

Fourth in a set of four stamps issued under the aegis of the World Wildlife Fund. Also see the maximum card and the first day cover.

Tanzania

Scott # 1693c
Issued 1998

This stamp depicting the mountain gorilla appears on a minisheet of six depicting endangered species.

Tanzania Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Tanzania

Scott # 2001
Issued 1999

This stamp is part of a set of six stamps depicting endangered species. Another stamp in this set shows the pygmy hippopotamus.

Tanzania Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Tanzania

Scott # 2040a
Issued 2000

This stamp is part of a set of eight stamps appearing on a souvenir sheet depicting wildlife of Africa and surrounding areas. Since one of the animals depicted is the tiger, this includes a lot of territory!

Uganda

Scott # 285
Issued 1979

This stamp depicting the mountain gorilla is part of a set of fourteen portraying African wildlife.

Uganda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Uganda

Scott # B1
Issued 1998

This stamp shows the mountain gorilla. The stamp commemorates the eighteenth anniverary of the Pan African Postal Union.

Uganda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Uganda

Scott # 1625
Issued 1999

This stamp is one of a set of six depicting primates.

Uganda Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Uganda

Scott # 1693
Issued 2001

This minisheet depicts a pair of mountain gorillas.

Zambia Mountain Gorilla Stamp
Zambia

Scott # 663e
Issued 1997

This stamp depicting a mountain gorilla appears on a souvenir sheet along with five other stamps portraying endangered species of Africa. The other stamps portray the black rhinoceros, leopard, chimpanzee, Grant's zebra, and the African elephant.


Mountain Gorillas/Dian Fossey Webring
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Last modified by pib on July 6, 2003.