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World'Gorillas in the Mist': Last gorilla is presumed dead

02:25  29 may  2019
02:25  29 may  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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The last of the " Gorillas in the Mist " -- made famous by renowned American primatologist Dian Fossey -- is believed to have died.

The gorillas of Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park were immortalised in the award-winning 1988 film, ' Gorillas in the Mist ' starring Sigourney Weaver as Fossey. She could do no wrong'. Poppy gave birth at 41 - the oldest recorded gorilla to have ever given birth, two years before her presumed death .

'Gorillas in the Mist': Last gorilla is presumed dead© Courtesy The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund A young Poppy studies famed primatologist Dian Fossey in 1977.

The last of the "Gorillas in the Mist" -- made famous by renowned American primatologist Dian Fossey -- is believed to have died.

A gorilla known as Poppy, who would have turned 43 on April 1, has not been seen by trackers since August last year, according to Fossey's namesake nonprofit organization.

Poppy was born nine years after Fossey established a camp within Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park in 1967 as part of an effort to study the area's vanishing mountain gorilla population.

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Gorillas in the Mist is a 1988 American drama film directed by Michael Apted and starring Sigourney Weaver as the naturalist Dian Fossey.

The last of the " Gorillas in the Mist " -- made famous by renowned American primatologist Dian Fossey -- is believed to have died. Poppy pictured here in August 2015 was the last living mountain gorilla studied by famed zoologist Dian Fossey [Credit: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund].

Fossey was killed in Rwanda over 30 years ago but her nonprofit said in a statement about Poppy's death that Fossey often wrote of the young gorilla in her journals. She described Poppy as a "little darling ... winsome and appealing. She could do no wrong."

The Fossey Fund said Poppy hailed from one of the area's "royal families." Her mother, Effie, was the powerful matriarch whose members are now spread across many gorilla groups in the national park. Poppy's other well-known relatives include two silverbacks, Cantsbee and Isabukuru, as well as her sister, Maggie, who was a favorite of Sigourney Weaver while filming the Academy Award-winning film "Gorillas in the Mist," which was adapted from a book by Fossey.

'Gorillas in the Mist': Last gorilla is presumed dead© Courtesy The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Poppy pictured here in August 2015 was the last living mountain gorilla made famous by Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist. Copyright Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International "Being able to observe Poppy over so many stages of life gave researchers a wealth of knowledge," said Tara Stoinski, Fossey Fund President in a press statement. "She taught us so much about the rich social and reproductive lives of female gorillas, their dominance structure, and of course, their personalities."

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Dian Fossey Gorilla foundation, which oversees gorilla protection activities said the female gorilla was l. “We now believe that Poppy, the last living gorilla made famous by Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist movie, is likely dead ,” the Dian Fossey Gorilla foundationin Rwanda said on twitter.

Poppy, the last living gorilla featured in Dian Fossey’s 1983 book “ Gorillas in the Mist ,” is believed to have died, according to the famed naturalist’s nonprofit organization. The female ape, who would have turned 43 on April 1, has not been observed by trackers since August, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Throughout her life, Poppy would surprise those monitoring her by transferring to different groups of mountain gorillas. Then two years ago, Poppy stunned her trackers when, at 41, she became the oldest recorded mountain gorilla to give birth.

"Poppy broke the mold for what we know about mountain gorilla females -- transferring at an older age, joining a very young and inexperienced male, having a baby so late in life," explained Veronica Vecellio, Fossey Fund gorilla program senior advisor.

"It is so wonderful that we know about her infancy from Dian Fossey's journals. She was one of Fossey's favorites, and we all felt such privilege to know her and observe her in her final years. Surely, this means we will remember her forever," Vecellio added.

The Fossey Fund said Poppy left five children, as well as another sister, Mahane.

When Fossey arrived at the Virunga mountains in 1967 she found a species on the brink -- with just 240 gorillas left. Five decades later, the population is continuing to grow with the latest census last year revealing a population of 604 as of June 2016.

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