ITV has announced comedian John Bishop will present a documentary about the plight of the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda – and he discovers he has more in common with them than he ever imagined.
John Bishop’s Gorilla Adventure is a 60-minute film in which the Liverpudlian star and a group of vets travel into the forests of Rwanda to highlight the precarious plight of the few mountain gorillas left in the wild.
The Gorilla Doctors are dedicated to saving the amazing creatures and, as John discovers, their work is paying off. Although they now number fewer than 900, when head vet Mike Cranfield started in 1998 there were barely 600 gorillas left. Now their numbers are increasing strongly, but only through the constant vigilance of the doctors.
John said: “The commitment of the Gorilla Doctors is incredibly inspiring. And when you are so close to these beautiful animals, it is humbling to see how this commitment is saving such an iconic beautiful creature.”
The doctors trek for hours every day through mud and rain to monitor the health of each gorilla and treat them at the first sign of illness of injury. It’s difficult, dangerous work, as John experiences, when a huge Silverback male threatens the team when they try to treat a baby gorilla they fear has contracted tetanus.
But it’s also deeply rewarding. One of the great success stories is a four-year-old gorilla that John and the team manage to track down in the dense undergrowth. At just three days’ old, the vets had to amputate the bottom part of his left leg in and he’s not only survived but is on track to become a full grown Silverback.
John Bishop’s Gorilla Adventure will screen on ITV over Christmas and New Year.