Mountain Gorillas of Africa: Background information when reading Three Weeks in December

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Three Weeks in December

by Audrey Schulman

Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman
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    Jan 2012, 353 pages

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Mountain Gorillas of Africa

One of the main characters in Audrey Schulman's Three Weeks in December - an American ethnobotanist named Max who has Asperger's Syndrome - finds herself in East Africa searching for a medicinal plant. Along the way, she follows a family of exquisite mountain gorillas that have somehow escaped local poachers and finds that she has an amazing ability to understand their non-verbal communication.

mountain gorilla

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, mountain gorillas (gorilla beringei beringei) are the largest living primate. The aptly named silverback - the dominant male that leads and controls each family - is often the biggest ape of the group and can weigh up to 500 pounds. Though mountain gorillas are extraordinarily strong - it is said that they have about 10 times the strength of an American football player - they are, quite surprisingly, primarily herbivores and eat over 100 different spices of plants. Likewise their dispositions tend to be gentle and shy rather than agressive.

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