Montana State University

'Gorilla' author to speak Dec. 8 on wildlife conservation

November 28, 2005 -- From MSU News Service

Bill Weber met and observed gorilla families while living in Rwanda. (Photo courtesy of Wilderness Conservation Society).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
A wildlife conservationist who once lived in the kingdom of gorillas and studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey will relate his experiences to the Greater Yellowstone during a Dec. 8 lecture in Bozeman.

Bill Weber, co-author of "In the Kingdom of Gorillas" and director of the North America Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, will speak on "Out of Africa into Greater Yellowstone: Global Perspectives in Wildlife Conservation" at 7:30 p.m. in the Weaver Room of the Emerson Cultural Center. The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments and a book-signing opportunity will follow.

An expert in the human aspects of conservation and a pioneer of the ecotourism movement, Weber and his wife, Amy Vedder, lived in Africa for nine years, trudging through mountain forests, meeting entire gorilla families and observing gorillas at rest and play. When they first arrived in Rwanda, though, they noticed that the gorilla population was headed toward extinction because of poaching and loss of habitat. To help, the couple co-founded the Mountain Gorilla Project. They also helped design other park and forest conservation initiatives across the Congo Basin and co-wrote "In the Kingdom of Gorillas." The book was selected by BBC Wildlife as one of the most influential books from the past 40 years of wildlife publishing.

"Those of us who work to conserve wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem know that we have much to learn from the experiences of others who work in wild places around the world," said Lisa Graumlich, executive director of the Big Sky Institute at Montana State University. "We are excited to host Bill and look forward to hearing about the lessons we might learn from the mountains of Rwanda."

Weber's lecture is co-sponsored by Wildlife Conservation Society's Greater Yellowstone Program and the Big Sky Institute.

Weber has worked 30 years in international conservation. For most of the past 10 years, he has focused on North American issues. In his current position, he directs field-based research and collaborative efforts to save wildlife and wildlands from the Arctic coastal plain to the Adirondacks and Greater Yellowstone.

For more information, contact Jeff Burrell at (406) 522-9333 or, Graumlich at (406) 994-5320 or go to

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or